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PLC(Powerline Communication) Application

PLC Network Camera, How it Works?

PLC refers to Powerline Communication, it’s a kind of technology that transmitting data over existing power lines. To achieve this, a pair of Powerline Ethernet Adapters should be used, they also as refered as PLC modems. By using the PLC network cameras, the users don’t need to use Ethernet cables to connect the network cameras with the router /network video recorder, which in turn, can provide you flexibility on installation while reduce the installation cost.

Maxim, one of famous PLC solution provider, says “Powerline communication technology minimizes infrastructure and maintenance costs by communicating over existing power lines. PLC technology avoids the need to create new communication paths through obstacles such as buildings, hills, and basements that block wireless communications.”

How Powerline Communication Works?
Figure 1: How Powerline Communication Works?

1#. What's PLC network camera?

PLC solution just recently integrated into security network cameras. Talking about the PLC network cameras, we have to mention a Taiwanese company called Zinwell. The company provide a comprehensive Powerline solutions including wired and wireless, Powerline solution can establish reliable and fast network through home’s existing wires for accessing HD IPTV streams, online gaming and web browsing..etc. ZinWell also launched its PLC network camera for home security date back to 2012.

Zinwell PCQ-500 is the world first network camera integrated with PLC technology (has a PLC adapter built-in). Therefore, a PLC network camera has a PLC adapter built-in, then you just need to use one connecting with the router/NVR instead of using two adapters. The advanced plug and play technology automatically configures and connects the camera to the App. After the initial setup, you can viewing the area selected for monitoring right from your smartphone, anytime, anywhere using smartphone’s 3G, 4G, LTE, or Wi-Fi connections. The Figure 2 shows how it works.

PLC network camera
Figure 2: PLC Network Camera, How it works?

2#. What's the advantage of PLC network cam?

Security and bandwidth, as well as the interference are top concerns to the data transmitting over electricity power lines.  Today’s PLC adapters can provide up to 500Mbps network bandwidth which is five times higher than 10/100Mbps Ethernet standard. In terms of security and interference, before transferring the data, the data will be encrypted with 128-bit AES encryption algorithm which can protect your data being tampered or interfered. 

PLC technology are dedicated to solve the network communication problem for remote sites. So, the PLC moderns are designed to provide longer communication distance (up to 300 meters). 

3#. How reliable is the PLC solution?

In addition to security, many users concern about its reliability. Though it’s impossible to get the feedback from users who using the PLC network cameras, the most majority users are quite happy with their Powerline moderns. One user commented “I've been a Network Engineer for over 10 years and ever since I've dealt with computers, cabling is one of the worst aspects of the job. I can't tell you how many times I've run/extended CAT3/CAT5/CAT5e/CAT6 cabling and ended up terminating both ends and testing them. Some situations are easier than others when you're allowed to run a cable across the floor or above ceiling tile... but in other situations like getting networking in a certain room in your house can be a total pain in the butt. There were literally no problems connecting these in my house. I went to the living room where I needed wired connectivity and plugged these up to the wall. The TP-Link adapter immediately recognized my existing Netgear Powerline adapters and the 2nd LED (Powerline LED indicator) immediately lit up. I plugged in my small 10/100 switch to it and then my Roku & TV up to it and the 3rd LED (Ethernet indicator) lit up and the devices could not only talk to other devices on my LAN, but they had Internet access as well. I personally noticed NO DIFFERENCE in throughput speeds both within the LAN and the Internet.”  If you have any doubts, you can go to search “Powerline Network Adapters” in Amazon, then check the product’s review written by users.

4#. Should I use PLC security network cameras?

It seems PLC network cameras are so promising , should I use them to setup my new IP video surveillance system? Yes, you can, but not necessarily. Apparently, just using a pair of Powerline adapters, you can achieve the PLC solution to any conventional security network cameras. Compared with PLC network camera, you have the flexibility to choose whether using Ethernet cable or PLC adapters during your security camera installation. Consequently, offering the PLC network cameras isn’t in our plan.

However, PLC solution provides you another alternative way to install security network cameras. Today, you can choose Ethernet, PoE, WiFi, PLC four different communication methods to cater your variety video surveillance applications.

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