back to article PLT chair: UK Radio Society is 'living in a dream world'

The chair of the EU committee on powerline networking has responded to the Radio Society's call to arms, claiming that every minute of filibustering pollutes the radio spectrum more. The Radio Society of Great Britain reckons the new standard, prEN 50561‐1, will water down existing requirements, opening the way to greater …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Worrying the spooks'

    On the other hand, won't the radio waves generated by powerlines reflect the content of the data travelling on the networks, hence providing the spooks with enhanced surveillance capabilities?

    1. Lee Dowling

      Re: 'Worrying the spooks'

      Almost all powerline kit nowadays encrypts traffic with AES or equivalent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Worrying the spooks'

        Ah, so nothing for the spooks there, then. Provided, of course, that it is easy for novices to set up (or better - defaults to secure). Just thinking of how long it's taken for my neighbours to get their wireless properly secured.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

    The device itself isn't generating any interference; the antenna it's connected to is. And it's not my fault if the antenna isn't "sufficiently shielded".

    Ofcom can't do anything as the device itself isn't a radio transmitter. It's not my fault if some miscreants create a transmitter by connecting it to an insufficiently shielded antenna.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

      I was inclined to agree to start then I thought about it some more.

      Your GPS jammer is sending the signal to tansmit to the antenna.

      The PLT kit is sending data over a cable a side affect of which is the radio waves.

      To me that seems an essential difference. The PLT does not want to transmit but transmitting data in this way causes it. It would be the same as saying that using ethernet devices that have cables conneted that do not conform to the cable standards are at fault because of the cables.

      1. An ominous cow heard

        Re: So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

        "using ethernet devices that have cables conneted that do not conform to the cable standards are at fault because of the cables."

        Have you ever bought a device supplied with an ethernet cable with a lump on it near the end of the cable? I have.

        Have you ever bought a device with a power block with a lump on it near the device power socket? You probably have.

        That lump is a choke, an RF interference suppression device, included so that when the device is connected to its power source, the innards of the device do not end up radiating RF down its power lead/aerial. The vendors do this because if they didn't, they'd fail to meet the relevant emissions regulations.

        If powerline devices had these chokes on them, they might meet the regulations too. But they wouldn't sell many, because they wouldn't work, because they wouldn't be able to transmit (or receive).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

        A duck does not wish to defecate, but does so nevertheless. I am sure you are familiar with the phrase"It it walks liek a duck, etc" Surely the same applies to this crappy rubbish, ie PLT.

    2. Nebulo
      Devil

      Re: So I can now legally import and sell GPS jammers, etc?

      Quite. We can do a nice line in Jacob's ladders, too. Watching those l-o-n-g sparks repeatedly ascending to heaven is so very restful! And ... it's a work of techno-art, not a transmitter, so we already know that Ofcom will say that "the devices themselves aren't radio transmitters so fall outside their remit" ... whatever the outraged populace around 'em might say about their now total inability to use their TVs, radios, mobiles ... after all, why should we amateurs be the only ones to lose our use of the spectrum? Most un-PC, this discrimination.

      This country urgently needs a competent communications regulator, before the ONLY EM spectrum we have disappears forever into a cesspit of Ofcom's "officially sanctioned" pollution. These cretins are a serious embarrassment to anyone with a gram of technological awareness.

  3. Eugene Crosser

    Exactly. Or manufacture them (jammers for cell phones, air traffic control, police radio, anything), as long as I ensure that they do not produce interference when antenna is not plugged in.

    Sounds as nonsense to me.

  4. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Where do they get the idea that PLT isn't a radio transmitter

    Of course it's a transmitter, it's generating radio frequency energy deliberately on its output pins. The only part of the equation missing is an aerial, and your mains circuit provides that. How long would it take them to jump on pirate radio stations if they weren't using an aerial, but were wiring their transmitter to a bit of pipe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where do they get the idea that PLT isn't a radio transmitter

      Of course it's not a transmitter, it has no licence to transmit, and a licence is required to transmit in the frequencies in question.

      Therefore it cannot be a transmitter.

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: Where do they get the idea that PLT isn't a radio transmitter

        So pirate radio, which doesn't have a license, isn't using transmitters because what they have isn't licensed? Sounds like bureaucracy gone mad.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds like bureaucracy gone mad

          Sounds like barrack-room lawyer-reasoning gone mad

          fixed

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where do they get the idea that PLT isn't a radio transmitter

        PLT puts out high frequencies onto copper cables. Funnily enough copper cables are great antennas. PLT hence transmits when the copper cable it is running on is unscreened ( the vast majority of mains electric cables).

        whether or not it has a licence to transmit doesn't make any difference to the fact it is still transmitting, and more importantly interfering.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if notching sorts the amateur radio folks

    Even if notching is done right and does somewhat reduce the interference on the licenced for amateur use bands, such notching does little to remedy the wideband RF interference which (if allowed to continue) will knacker the performance of high speed DSL (which is short wave radio down a telephone line).

    Such knackeration will be near impossible to diagnose, especially once widespread. Therefore DSL will increasingly become yesterday's technology.

    Sadly the small "save our DSL" part of BT that knows about this is overruled by the more visible (because directly revenue generating?) part of BT that sees PLT as a vital part of the BT Vision product range. Give them five or ten years and the situation will be reversed, the DSL folks will be saying "we told you so".

    1. Refugee from Windows

      Re: Even if notching sorts the amateur radio folks

      So in a while when data rate go up, they hit FM broadcasting, Air Traffic Control, PMR, DAB and finally they cause problems with DTT. Then it'll be noticed, but possibly too late.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even if notching sorts the amateur radio folks

      Our view of BT (openreach) evidently differs...

      I see it as BT charge per _connection_, not based on the quality of the connection, so if the line is degraded they still get paid the same amount but have less backhaul overheads... a win-win situation for them and screw the customer!

  6. frank ly
    Headmaster

    A pedant gets grumpy

    " ...Chair of the committee defining the standard refutes that, ..."

    Am I the only one who is annoyed by seeing the word 'refute' used to actually mean 'deny' or 'disagrees with'?

    "...and in many homes the wiring is sufficiently shielded that no interference is generated ..."

    Really? I must be living in an old-standard house, as is everybody I know. Where can I find samples of shielded domestic mains power cable?

    1. John H Woods

      Re: A pedant gets grumpy

      Absolutely agree. They only say 'refute' because it sounds stronger than 'deny'. Which it is, when used correctly.

      As for shielded mains cable that is in the new generation of British housing with larger rooms and modern insulation spec ... oh, wait...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Where can I find samples of shielded domestic mains power cable?"

      Anywhere that hasn't been rewired since the days of lead-cased mains cable? When was that, fifty years ago, maybe more?

      Can't think of any other reason. Even if the cable is in conduit, which is rare in UK domestic premises, it'll likely be plastic.

      So any premises with screened mains cable likely has unsafe wiring and needs a rewire?

      1. Nebulo

        Re: "Where can I find samples of shielded domestic mains power cable?"

        Actually, you can buy it. It's called "mineral insulated" cable (or Pyro, from one of its trade names, as it's sold to be fireproof). It looks like copper water pipe, it costs an arm and a leg, and not all electricians are competent to install it, because there must be very good earth continuity between its copper outer and the metal pattress box.

        However, as a licensed amateur, I would have no objection to PLT, were a competent regulator to mandate the use of Pyro in every installation, and the monitoring of its emissions.

        1. Martin 71 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "Where can I find samples of shielded domestic mains power cable?"

          To be fair, FP200 and even boring ole SWA would probably work too. But the point is, this stuff's unnecessary anyway. Install cat5e or cat6 cable. Job done, cheaper than pyro ;-)

          And I LOVE MI cable, beautiful stuff to work with when you have time (ie, not on a contract job!)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Where can I find samples of shielded domestic mains power cable?"

            with the price of copper , can anyone other than the super rich now afford to install Mineral Insulated copper clad (aka pyro) cable ?

  7. Lord Voldemortgage

    Everybody needs good neighbours

    So how do I ensure that my home wiring is sufficiently shielded to prevent any mains-based networking kit I might buy from polluting things for other people?

    Can we mitigate this problem by requiring new builds to use shielded wiring and for domestic electrical maintenance work to do the same?

    What are the cost implications?

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Everybody needs good neighbours

      What are the cost implications?

      or more importantly, how good is a cat 5 cable at delivering sufficient juice to my kettle for the coffee required to kickstart my CNS of a morning?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Mike Tubby
    FAIL

    Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

    I'm still not convinced what the business case for PLT actually is? To laxy to install CAT5? Then use WiFi?

    G

    1. rhydian

      Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

      Too lazy to install cat5? More likely running cat5 would involve drilling though and running cable inside walls. A messy, expensivee business. Add to that the fact that a lot of electrical contractors aren't very good at network wiring and you have your answer. Pick up two PLT units and your away in minutes, and any sheds/garages on the same supply can be hooked up too.

      Regarding Wifi:it is fine when you have a new build house with plasterboard walls. Try getting a wifi signal through one or two chunky stone internal walls and get back to me. Also untill recently wifi bandwidth and reliability wern't a patch on PLT

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "untill recently wifi bandwidth and reliability wern't a patch on PLT"

        Er, please compare apples with apples.

        PLT a few years back didn't have much bandwidth either. If PLT had stayed in the era of the Verran AC Datalink (early 1990s), there'd probably be no problem with wideband RF splatter, because back then, PLT was only offering maybe 9600 baud.

        To go faster, each generation of PLT technology transmits on a wider frequency range. We're now in the tens (if not hundreds) of MHz.

        Meanwhile the laws of physics remain unchanged. Unbalanced cables radiate at RF, sometimes radiate quite a lot at RF. End of story, whether the PLT vendors and their regulatory stooges like it or not.

        1. rhydian

          Re: "untill recently wifi bandwidth and reliability wern't a patch on PLT"

          Its also part of physics that a cable/wire connection will be more reliable than wireless.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

        excellent response, characterised the modern western approach to problem solving almost as well as the viz water privatisation (protest) advert 'taking your shit, and putting it in the sea'

        i have a slight tech problem that i will solve by causing world+dog a massive problem.

        dunderhead!

        PLT is a fundamentally stupid idea, it would be nice if it could work. save loads of $$$ and a lot of pissing about with hammer drills in my grade 2 listed longhouse.

        but it's broken right out of the box.

    2. Steven Davison
      FAIL

      Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

      Where you live in a property where you cannot lay Cat5. (Renting etc) and the walls/structure of the building prevent reliable WiFi Transmission....

      hardly difficult that one!

      1. Ru

        Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

        I've run cat5 in numerous rental properties where drilling holes in the wall would have been rather frowned upon. Tucking it in under the edge of the carpet, or taping it where the wall meets the floor or ceiling worked just fine. It doesn't take a vast amount of effort to keep it neat and out of the way.

        Honestly, how did you people cope before there were any wifi or powerline network devices?

        1. rhydian

          Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

          "How did people cope before wifi or pwerline network devices?"

          Its only in the last 5 years that VOD directly to your TV/STB took off, not to mention the explosion in smartphones/fodleslabs and the like.

          And in my case running a cat5 would have involved either going through newly painted walls or around a fireplace (and AFAIK they don't make cat5 that matches the colour of victorian brick) back to a router who's position is not yet fixed.

          And before you say run cables under the carpet, i have hardwood floors.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Erm... exactly why do we need PLT anyway?

      Maybe you've never had to deploy a network in a multi-floor building built at a time when builders used proper bricks and mortar rather than the mix of plasterboard, snot and sawdust that prevails nowadays.

      My last place of work was in an Edwardian-era building with limited ability to lay additional Cat-5 (listed building, meaning there were some fairly strict restrictions on what could be done inside and out)

      - We wanted to lay more Cat-5. We couldn't (see above)

      - There was too much attenuation between floors for a single WiFi access point to be of any use (for a variety of reasons said access point would have to live on the ground floor)

      The best solution was wireless access points on each floor connected to the network backbone via powerline networking kit.

      Don't knock it. It worked.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Radio Society is 'living in a dream world'

    True.

    You're just an organisation who tries to get support from a government body to uphold international regulations.

    We're businesses, so just piss off.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Compromise?

    Why don't radio hams just use IM instead?

  11. Fihart

    Does it even work ?

    I'd be willing to bet that PLT only works at all in a minority of homes, due to old or unsuitable mains wiring. It's probably wise before attempting to use this tech to agree with the retailer that he'll refund the full price if your wiring proves unsuitable.

    1. rhydian

      Re: Does it even work ?

      I've run PLT to a barn 100m away from the router on a really rubbish cable with little packet loss. The only thing that really kills it is surge protectors and emf from fridges etc.

      Also i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly, especially since part P came in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

        Maybe it is on your planet, but where most of us are, it mostly goes for decades without seeing a sparky.

        1. Lee Dowling

          Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

          I had to explain to my Italian girlfriend that we aren't required to have annual gas safety checks now that we own a house instead of rent. It seemed a little daft, that one, to explain that apparently owning a house makes you somehow more resistant to a gas pipe moving, rupturing or just plain blowing up. I suppose it's pseudo-related to being illegal to adjust the piping in any way without a Corgi certificate to their name (and then I had to explain that most people know what Corgi is, and Gas-Safe is just "the new name for Corgi").

          But with electricity? Hell, you don't even need to fit it professionally. The standard is "competency", which is open to interpretation and could cover some guy going to an evening course once. The fire risk is significantly less (though the risk of electric shock is always present, that's more likely to hurt the person tampering than some random joe plugging something with its own fuse in).

          The wiring in the house we live in now seems quite recent. There's a proper switch-box and most runs look like new cable and seem to fit new colourings. The only reason for that, though, is that we bought it empty and the previous owner was nothing but a renovator. Looks like they ripped out all the water piping and central heating too and just replaced it with something simpler and from this era. Chances are they will be the same cables in 10 or 15 years time, though, except for stuff that gets extended. Hell, my dad's house has wiring that he installed there himself when he was about 19. The only time you see it is if you pull up a floorboard, and then changing it because it's not using the correct colour code is likely a job that NOBODY would bother to do, or even pay someone to do. And, yes, he has a RCD fusebox now but it was him that wired it in to replace the old wire-fuses! They call them "consumer units" for a reason, you know.

          Electrical stuff tends to stay for years on the same cables and connectors. So long as the light switches on when you press the switch, nobody is going to go pulling up floorboards to check it. The only time cable gets *replaced* (rather than extended) is when there's an obvious problem with it, or you have an absolutely empty house that you're either trying to sell or just bought yourself. And that's about the only convenient time to actually do any major electrical work at all.

          Hands up how many people here think they know, or have a plan, of where every electrical cable in their house goes, and where old redundant cables lay, and how old those cables are? I'm guessing nowhere near everyone. Now how many have had the cable that brings electricity into the meter shielded or moved by the electricity company since the house was first wired?

          1. Rande Knight

            Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

            If someone comes in to change wiring in your house, then they should be Part P registered (ie, registered as 'competent'). It's also theoretically possible to pay the local Council to test and sign it off if the electrician isn't registered, but the response can vary greatly.

            However, there is nothing to stop a house owner doing work themselves. It's only when they come to sell that it may be a problem if it's been done badly.

          2. Naughtyhorse

            Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

            the main difference between leccy and gas....

            if you leave the leccy alone, it leaves you alone.

            but the gas will come looking for you.

            yeah i know natural gas not as narsty as town gas etc etc

        2. rhydian

          Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

          Thing is, for fixed wiring "reaonsably regularly" can be every 10 years. On average I bet the average house has some electrical work done that often so any really bad problems will be spotted.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

            Thing is, for fixed wiring "reaonsably regularly" can be every 10 years. On average I bet the average house has some electrical work done that often so any really bad problems will be spotted.

            Agreed. It was only 25 years later, ie this year, when putting in a new hardwood floor in the dining room I discovered that the ground floor ring main wasn't. There's a 30A twin'n'earth hanging loose, must be a length of offcut. Oh, there's another bit. Sparky says, "ah, that's, why I'm getting strange readings on the meter. Your ground floor "ring main" is just one fecking big spur!"

            As the resident "user" of the electrical system in this house, I had no idea there was something wrong. It just worked. Luckily, without incident. And no thought or requirement that it ought to be checked. So, from my point of view, Part P actually was useful.

            Oh. Yes. None of the cable is shielded in any way. It'll probably be another 25 years before it's looked at again. Unless new regs come in requiring checks or upgrades.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "i bet most house wiring is inspected ressonably regularly"

          "goes on for decades without seeing a sparky" ... well PVC cable can last for quite a while, under resonable conditions.

          However the old vulcanized indian rubber stuff was shit, and a sparky was needed to replace it in less than 2 decades of it being installed, unless you liked the thought of your house burning down due to an electrical fire.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does it even work ?

        and when on surge filters PLT kit doesn't work due to the surge filters filtering out all the RF interference the PLT kit is emitting.

        maybe we should make surge filters compulsory on all sockets, that'd screw PLT kit manufacturers. Job done.

  12. nigel 15
    Devil

    There's a smokey on your back door

    Dear radio HAMs it's 2012. try facebook. skype. IRC if you must.

    Never has such a vocal minority been so effective in lobbying against the interests of the rest of us. well perhaps not never. but it's been a while.

    1. Purlieu

      Re: There's a smokey on your back door

      You'll need the Hams to do the morse code after the Martians destroy our cities in retaliation for lasering thier planet

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: There's a smokey on your back door

      So old chap, what services do you use that might one day be subject to interference from other systems that are subjected to reduced EMC requirements and hence fail or suffered reduced performance?

      The reason that up to now EMC compliance has generally meant that interoperability is widespread is because it has been enforced to the levels determined to be necessary.

      The radio spectrum is the only one there is, we can't replace the ionosphere that makes HF radio a worldwide communications resource with one that uses a different frequency range.

      EN50561 is about nothing other than allowing inadequately designed installations to perform their stated purpose while risking interference with legitimate users. Allowing the separation of an energising device and the energised network is unacceptable, testing should require it to be terminated in a realistic mains network as found in the majority of real-world domestic installations. CISPR failed to come to an agreement for a PLT standard, as is usual these days the profoundly undemocratic EU decided to pass the question back to a more maleable committee, namely CENELEC, in the expectation that it would do the EC's bidding.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    db is a relly small term right? what harm can it do?

    "Storrs reckons having a standard in place also means it can be tweaked later"

    I love the idea that an industry is going to embrace a standard that affects their business model then allow it to be "tweaked" any way other than to the "off" position.

    Once a standard is in place (blowing holes in existing regulations) the industry will then say "we've been through this already! - move on it's just another few of tens of db. on the levels as part of the tweaks we talked about"

    Its like the burglar arguing because he stole something a while back he sort of is "the owner" so we need to rewrite laws to reflect that.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: db is a relly small term right? what harm can it do?

      Its like the burglar arguing because he stole something a while back he sort of is "the owner" so we need to rewrite laws to reflect that.

      many moons ago - i recall a tale of some slag that nicked a car, then put bucket seats and alloys on it, when said car was recovered he accused the rightful owner of theft and was successful.

      (see! it's not just patent law thats fubar)

  14. Mark #255
    Boffin

    "notching [...] often poorly implemented"

    Whatever the merits or not of the overall argument, the point about notch filters often being poorly implemented sticks out.

    If there was a standard to meet, then "poorly implemented" filters would fail it, and that particular problem would be solved. That's a reason to have a standard, not to not have one.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Roar Dehli

      Re: Corrections.

      Excellent posting !

      1. Snar

        Glass houses

        Agreed.

        People seem to be ignorant of the fact that once a commercial precedent is set, it's set.

        prEN 50561‐1 is a junk manufacturers dream and what's an issue to radio opersators now may well prevent people using their DAB radio's, listening to FM or any other electronic product functioning correctly.

        Raising the acceptable radiated limit of interference by 10,000 times (which is what we are talking about with prEN 50561‐1) means that any spectrum is open for abuse. It means that your cheapo LED lights can be built without EMC components, and if they wipe out you telly, so what! The manufacturers can save a few cents of the BOM costs.

        And to put things into releif, EN-50561-1 is just as enforcible as EN-55022 - in other words it won't be transposed into EU law. The whole idea of EN-55022 conformance is to show due dilligence to the EMC regulations which are law.

        Using band IV for broadband is another complete f**kup by Ofcom. That is insanely stupid and will end up in tears. Our regulator may be great at rapping Clarksons knuckles for having a go at Civil Servants, but tech is something that Ofcom have no idea about.

        73

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "PLT manufacturers are lying on their EMC Declarations of Comformity"

      Is it still the case that a Declaration of Conformity must be signed by a responsible named individual?

      In which case, why not use the relevant legal system to go after the named individual rather than the company?

      I realise these named individuals probably are not the originators of this mess, but there is a reason for having a named individual on the DoC, and this is (was?) part of it.

      Try starting with the ones used by BT Vision, see how well that works. Then Humax, and so on.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Jonathan D

    If a HAM radio enthusiast

    wants to come to my house, install 20m of cat5 through solid stone walls from the front of the house to the very back up a level, with no visible signs and for free, then I'll stop using them.

    Untill then they stay!

    1. JP19

      Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

      Or maybe a HAM radio enthusiast should complain to ofcom about radio interference and an ofcom investigator comes round to your house, confiscates your illegal radio transmitters and prosecutes you for possession of them?

      That is what should happen, that is what the law says. How far do you think a 'but my walls are stone' defence get you in court?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

        " How far do you think a 'but my walls are stone' defence get you in court?"

        Actually quite a long way, as most thick stone walls will absorb the interference anyway (hence the reason wireless doesn't work well).

        1. phil 27

          Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

          The interference doesn't radiate out the walls and get attenuated by the stone walls, it goes along the powerline which runs outside the building and into free space.

          Ive got a stone house, I also flood wired it with cat5 when I was having it wired. I can also sniff my neighbors wifi through three 60cm thick stone walls and 20m of free space...

          Ive also used X10 in the past using powerline, and it was bad enough without half the world bladdering the local spectrum with PLA devices, and we had whole house filters on the mains input and individual filters on devices.

          For years, if radio equipment caused interference or distress, a man with a suitcase came from the DTI and shut it down. Now, they get a bye because some people think they need the functionality?

          Surely the PLA devices need a kick up the arse to improve their filtration, so they dont cause this issue. That way all the people who absolutely can't touch their stone walls still get working pla, and the manufacturers get to keep manufacturing without killing the rest of the radio spectrum. But that will require a strong regulator, to say "no this equipment does not confirm, please go away and re-engineer it" and the manufacturers to invest the extra technical resource to do so.

          1. JP19

            Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

            "kick up the arse to improve their filtration"

            They can't. One mans signal is another mans pollution. That is why the radio spectrum is highly regulated.

            The problem is the mains wiring used to carry the signals which is out of any suppliers control. Unlike twisted pair or screened cables the signal 'leaks' out of mains wiring which was never intended for such use. It would be easier to install proper data cables than try to fix mains wiring. The only way suppliers could reduce the problem is by making the signals smaller and using less frequency spectrum which would substantially reduce the connection speed rendering them pretty much useless.

            There is no technical solution, you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear, and in this context mains wiring is the ear of a really ugly pig. The stuff is illegal, always has been and should never have been allowed to enter the market. The only way to make it legal is to change the law so effectively taking a dump on the local radio frequency spectrum becomes legal, that is what the manufactures are trying to achieve.

        2. Gnomalarta
          FAIL

          Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

          "Actually quite a long way, as most thick stone walls will absorb the interference anyway (hence the reason wireless doesn't work well)."

          Oh dear. How do you think the electrons get into your house to power your toys? They use wires and those wires will carry the PLT signals out of your house and into other houses. PLT signals have been found to radiate from street lamp posts and telephone wires. RF radiation is a subtle art.

    2. peter 45
      Headmaster

      Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

      So you don't have any mains wired through your house then?

      (hint. Everywhere you have mains wired, you have a penetration through your precious stonework and where you can run a cat5 cable in parallel)

      1. rhydian

        Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

        The difference is of course the mains wiring is allready there (and in most places plastered over) so it's invisible.

        And I was under the impression that running phone/data cable and 240v cable next to each other was a big no-no for safety reasons?

        1. Martin 71 Silver badge

          Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

          2" (50mm) separation is the standard, or a physical barrier (thin plastic conduit counts as a barrier). So it really wouldn't be a problem. And plaster can be re-done.. so usually the argument against cat5 wiring is purely one of laziness.

          1. rhydian

            Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

            Yes plaster can be re-done (and the paint/wallpaper) but how likely is it your going to gouge out your wall to run a Cat5 when you can buy PLT adaptors that work fine (as far as your concerned) for less than the cost of the cable? Add to that the fact that your average person has no interest in learning to terminate cat5 and buying the kit and PLT makes sense. Tearing in to my walls to run cat5 from a router to a TV/PVR that may not be in the same places in six months is simply impractical.

            When I talked my folks in to putting cat5 in to their re-wired living room I let the "competent" electrical contractor do the job. Queue one two-point faceplace at one end and two single points at the PC desk and TV. Thing was the electrician had used one cable from the twin-plate to the first socket, then wired from the first socket to the second, telephone style. Good job I checked the cables before they put the plasterboards up!

    3. Snar
      FAIL

      Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

      I presume that you would be quite happy for your TV to suddenly stop working because I've installed a solar generation system?

      1. rhydian

        Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

        Considering I have to get my TV sat fed I don't think it's an issue...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If a HAM radio enthusiast

          Considering I have to get my TV sat fed I don't think it's an issue...

          So the satellite doesn't use radio frequencies then? Must be a hell of a long bit of CAT5 up to the Astra Bird

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Roar Dehli
    Stop

    Disasterous EMC handling !!

    This FprEN50561-1 is just a way for the PLT industry to bypass EN55022:2006.

    A very bad idea regarding EMC, and it shows that as long as the industry can make money on poorly designed products even if it creates havoc with the radio spectrum, they are going to run all over HF/VHF radio spectrum users and they don't care at all.

    The only responsible solution would be that the national regulators turned down PLT/PLC all the way and remove these products from the market, as they do not pass the already established EN55022:2006. This standard is active from october 2011 and that actually means that most PLT/PLC units are illegal as most of them do NOT pass the EN55022:2006 testing.

    The national regulators and the EU are not doing their job in protecting the already established radio spectrum users, they seem to not care. The EU spokesman in this case needs to be replaced with someone who is responsible and understands what he is doing. I can just shake my head as I read the comments above. "Inflexible attitudes" means that the EMC standards should be followed, not adjusted to suit the producers who wants to turn the entire HF/VHF spectrum into a complete wall of radio noise.

    Example of PLC noise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMR4wPDUM9g&feature=relmfu

    There is nothing more to say about it........ it is very dissapointing to witness such poor handling of EMC regulations. To allow such poorly designed products like PLT/PLC to even be allowed onto the market is just a big failure.

    See what professional EMC technicians write about FprEN50561-1:

    http://www.compliance-club.com/pdf/Issue96.PDF

    Look at page 7, 8, 9, 18, 19.

    These EMC experts know what they are talking about ! I see too many postings here that is just nonsense.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. David Kelly 2

    RSGB is right

    The RSGB is right, why go to all the effort to clean the air and water if we don't apply the same standards to the radio spectrum?

    Radio communication is unique and it can not penetrate the fog of pollution emitted from powerline carriers. And as others have pointed out there is no need for powerline carrier transmission because there are so many alternatives. But there is no alternative to the simplicity of one transmitter communicating with one distant receiver.

    If Amateur Radio Operators are not protected today then no one will have the equipment or skills when they are needed tomorrow.

  21. peter 45
    Boffin

    Wow.

    Just how much rubbish can these people spout with a straight face.

    " our kit isn't generating the interference, the mains wiring is"

    So if i disconnect your kit, the mains will continue to generate interference all on its own will it? Funny but last time I had to have some of my kit tested for CE marking, we had to connect it up using representative wiring...as called for by the CE regulations? Why do you get a free pass, alone amongst the whole electronics industry?

    " in many homes the wiring is sufficiently shielded that no interference is generated anyway".

    Err. What country are you living in? Care to point me at the wiring regulations that call for shielded wiring as standard? Care to point me at a housing development that uses shielded wiring?

    Taking their argument to its logical conclusion, PLT kit should be banned from being used in any house that does NOT have shielded wiring. Wonder how big that market is? Zero?

    "UK Ofcom .. saying it can't do anything as the devices themselves aren't radio transmitters so fall outside their remit." What utter complete rubbish. Their remit is anything that causes interference. Whether you call it a 'transmitter' or not is deliberately playing with semantics to avoid the issue.

    "Ronald Storrs agrees that PLT kit is generating unacceptable interference, but reckons that every day there isn't an applicable standard more unrestricted kit is getting into the marketplace" Again, that is not an issue with having a standard, but having existing standards that are not policed properly (or at all it seems). Issuing a new standard without policing it will not help one jot. Try prosecuting a few of the suppliers of these PLTs generating unacceptable interference and just see how fast they get withdrawn from sale.

    "Today's equipment has no restrictions". Again, utter tosh. They all have to conform to CE standards to be legally allowed to sold in this country. The fact that suppliers seem to be able to skirt around the regulations points to the lack of effort in monitoring and policing the standards, not the lack of standards. Adding an extra standard, without policing it, is a complete waste of time.

    "detect and avoid busy bands dynamically." does not help reduce the interference TO other users. It helps protect itself against interference FROM others. To somehow argue that this helps reduce interference to other users in the band is, at best, a mis-understanding of the technology and, at worst, a deliberate attempt to throw out a smoke-and-mirrors argument.

    Smoke and mirrors seems to be the only consistent thing about this whole saga.

  22. no_RS

    surely PLT is an installation?

    The argument goes that PLT is not a transmitter so OFCOM are behaving like ostriches, as an alternative view.

    By plugging a PLT device into the mains wiring and to other devices, this could be classed as an installation under the EMC directive and would have to meet the relevant requirements i.e. EN55022, if the installation just happened to be in a domestic environment then class B would be an appropriate.emission limit.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Worked at Bearley Radio Station years ago....

    It was an HF receiving station (Paired with Rugby - the transmitting side), to provide communication for countries that couldn't use the (now defunct) Goonhilly Downs Satellite station. IIRC, biggest customer was Uganda. Had about 100 receivers. Huge things, about 2 metres tall, 19" across (sorry to mix measurements), 2 channels (USB, LSB) apiece. Plessey PVR800 I think...

    Anyway, I worked in the R&D lab 50 metres away from the radios, and between projects we could do our own thing. So, for fun, I knocked up a voltage doubler from the mains, and fed it into an old car ignition coil. Sparks everywhere, running down the outside of the coil, onto the table - spectacular! I let it run for 10 minutes, until the coil gave up the ghost.

    Knocked the entire radio station off the air for that time. Mercifully, valve receivers, so didn't damage anything. Might have prevented Idi Amin's surrender plea getting through, tho'.

    Now, as a radio ham, if these buggers start sending shit down the wires, I might have another go at that 'experiment' and see if CAT-5 is really that well screened. It'll certainly take out the neighbours ethernet cards if it isn't. Not valve technology, don't think they'll survive it....MWAHAHAHA!

    Problem solved.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all quite simple once you understand the endgame

    My opinion is, the monetary collapse is about to be unleashed, and when the unrest hits, they don't want the unwashed masses coordinating or communicating.

    But hey, I'm just a conspiracy theorist. I don't have any facts. After all, the EU recovery is going just swell. Everything's fine, go back to sleep. Ignore me I'm nuts, go listen to your local psychopath minister, all is well, there's no 1.4 quadrillion missing or owed.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With a lawless government, GOD gives Ya got a few choices here.

    1. Stop Buying Electricity and go off grid

    2. Stop being a Ham, quit REACT and other world wide emergency groups, trust your government to deal with all this and don't let it worry your pretty little head, Sell your rigs, and buy guitars, or finger painting or something, national emergencies like nukes don't matter anymore anyway, so why bother having an emergency system?

    3. Sue the fuck out of the scumbags

    4. Damage the infrastructure causing the interference

    5. Outlaw the infrastructure causing interference

    6. Live with expensive rig kit that can't receive

    I vote for number 5, but I won't blame other solutions as long as they are victimless (no knee-capping)

    I'll bet the interference gets worse, since no people seem to have authority to control their piece of shit governments anymore.

    1. bdg2

      Re: With a lawless government, GOD gives Ya got a few choices here.

      > (no knee-capping)

      Don't see why not.

  27. bdg2

    I'm utterly disgusted with the government.

    As somebody who has been involved with the development of control systems that had to go through expensive testing to make sure they met the RF emissions standards as well as being a short wave listener it makes me really angry that the government has now decided that they support the manufacturers of these PLT devices that have illegally CE marked devices that emit, in some cases hundreds of times more interference than the legal requirement.

  28. JAV

    A response from the EMCC committee of RSGB

    I have just seen your report in the Register under the heading “PLT Chair: UK Radio Society is “living in a dream world”

    Perhaps I may clarify a couple of points in your report.

    a) The RSGB is not seeking a ban on PLT devices. We are simply arguing that any emission standard should reflect the essential requirements of the EMC Directive. The relevant clause from the EMC Directive is “Equipment shall be so designed and manufactured, having regard to the state of the art, as to ensure that…..the electromagnetic disturbance generated does not exceed the level above which radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended”

    The Commission has confirmed that EN55022 applies to PLT devices. Device manufacturers are arguing that emissions from PLT devices should be allowed at a much higher level (up to 45dB or about 50,000 times higher) than EN55022. Empirical evidence from a number of trials is that this causes interference to existing radio services.

    b) The RSGB is not alone amongst national Societies in opposing the current draft proposals, and our views are shared by professional EMC consultants and other HF radio users as well.

    c) The European Commission’s own EMC Consultant has confirmed that in his view the proposed draft does not satisfy the Essential Requirements of the EMC Directive.

    Mr Storrs’s assertion that there is no standard today is not the Society’s understanding, not the Commissions, nor that of ECC of CEPT. It is simply that the current standard is too constraining on PLT device manufacturers.

    We regret having to write publicly on this matter, as Mr Storrs has already written to the Society making a number of points. We will be replying to his letter in the next day or so. If Mr Storrs wishes to make public our reply we have no objection to it being published.

    John Rogers M0JAV

    Chairman RSGB EMC Committee

    1. frankthefrank

      Re: A response from the EMCC committee of RSGB

      Yet again the RSGB is the voice of sanity with a clear understanding of the issues. A huge contrast to the impetuous and confused ramblings of Roland McPLT.

  29. G4SKO

    Vorsprung Durch Technik

    German ADDX Group expresses its opposition to the proposed PLT standard

    http://www.rsgb.org/news/articlelinks.php?id=0391

  30. Kwac
    Alert

    Ronald Storrs - not THE Ronald Storrs?

    Isn't he the boss of TELIA, the Swedish telecom operator and leading Nordic communication company, PLC service provider?

    The majority of the committee (22 out of 42) are employed in some capacity by similar companies, so you have to admire them for the way they search for what is best for the consumer rather than merely puch the company line. :rolls eyes:

    http://cq-cq.eu/cispr22part2 (Note, this list is a couple of years old).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why focus on amateur radio?

    This crap also affects DAB & FM.

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