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Powerline Could Hamper Digital Radio

Posted: 14th Sep, 2004 By: MarkJ
Broadband Powerline (PLC) technology (Internet access via a mains power cable) has been rather quite of late; unfortunately today’s news isn't likely to help. The chair of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), Peter Senger, fears that interference could knock its newer digital radio transmissions for six:

DRM is a standard agreed by world broadcasters for a completely new short wave radio system. The new internet power line distribution system has been evaluated by engineers, including the BBC, and has been found to affect short wave in particular.

Short wave is mainly used to broadcast internationally and the AM bands have been used since radio first started in the 1920s. The DRM system uses existing AM broadcast frequencies to deliver near-FM quality digital sound.

It uses compression to squeeze clear digital sound into the narrow radio channels that currently carry crackly analogue signals. The DRM technology has the potential to make digital radio available in places that Digital Audio Broadcasting (Dab) radio or even FM will probably never reach.


Interestingly the UK is not planning to use DRM for domestic radio, preferring to stick with DAB.

Sadly the BBC News Online article appears to paint Powerline technology with one brush and doesn't highlight any specific method (e.g. most countries have their own method, with differing interference), nor is a practical example of the feared effect highlighted.

Having said that, many may see Powerline as a technology that missed a golden opportunity to succeed over ADSL by entering existence too late.
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