Switch "on" the Internet

Published: Saturday 28 February 1998

Accessing the Internet might just became as easy as turning on the light switch. Northern Telecom and Norweb Communications recently tested data transmission over electrical power lines. Using a protocol to suppress noise in the cables, a data transfer rate of about a megabit per second was achieved. However, there is one problem: data transfer speed. This will drop to about 500 kilobits per second as the number of users goes up. Furthermore, the protocol does not allow voltage step-downs that occur at substations, thereby requiring the alternate data lines between the house and the substation (Physics World , Vol 10, No 11).

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