Reducing delay and wiring in power line voice communication

18 September 2017

Renesas' PLC solution enables voice communication over power lines | Credit: Renesas
Renesas' PLC solution enables voice communication over power lines | Credit: Renesas

This new voice-over-power line communication solution reduces internal wiring requirements and enables fewer implementation and maintenance costs for both public address and security systems.

The new solution consists of Renesas’ power line communication (PLC) software modem (R9A06G037), which manages the PLC communications, and the RX651 microcontroller (MCU), which controls the audio codec processing. The new solution enables system manufacturers to enhance security systems by incorporating voice capabilities to an existing installation at low cost. For a new installation that includes various sensors as well as voice communication, wiring costs can be reduced by approximately 60 percent, while installation and maintenance costs can be reduced up to 40 percent.

Facilities such as office buildings have a variety of management systems installed, including climate control systems, lighting, sensors of various types, building public access systems, and security systems. In the past, each of these systems would have required their own dedicated wiring. Recently, trends have shifted towards utilising existing direct current (DC) power lines in configurations where these communication lines are shared with the power system.

Earlier attempts, however, to use power lines for voice communication have led to poor audio quality due to fluctuations in the delay time. To resolve this issue, the new voice-over-PLC solution uses priority control during audio transmission to virtually eliminate delay fluctuations in voice communication, even in cases where signal control communication and voice communication operate over the same power lines.

This ensures stable audio quality at all times. In addition, it combines the audio priority control feature with Renesas’ low-bandwidth PLC technology in an optimised manner to allow the use of signal lines exceeding one kilometre in length without using repeaters. By making it possible to combine data communication and voice communication over existing power networks, the new solution significantly reduces the amount of wiring required for building management systems and contributes to lower maintenance costs.

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