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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