PLC – WiFi Hybrid Last-mile Broadband Internet
Deployment and Security


Figure 1. Broadband PLC deployment.

Power Line Communication (PLC) is an emerging networking technology which has significant implications for smart environments. PLC features a new paradigm: ‘no new wires’ for internetworking, whereby the existing electrical wiring that delivers electrical power is reused. PLC technology, which though nascent currently, is maturing rapidly and proving to be the most promising last mile solution for broadband internet access. As with all public deployment of wireless internet services, the Broadband PLC also suffers from the lack of a robust mechanism to provide security. Authentication, Auditing and Access control (AAA) is also an issue. Research at LIST is directed towards a mechanism to explore new hybrid methods to provide last mile broadband internet access. A schematic that describes a typical deployment of PLC based networks is shown above:

Security issues pertaining to PLC networks are also being researched at LIST with an emphasis on AAA. New mechanisms to monitor and account network usage by individual subscribers are being developed so as to avoid unauthorized usage of the PLC network. Currently work is directed towards setting up a secure pilot PLC – WiFi hybrid network at the LIST lab with AAA capability.