Press release

Smart Grid / 09.02.2016

Powerline communication at the medium-voltage level. devolo and Eichhoff form a strong partnership.


The long-standing company Eichhoff Kondensatoren GmbH and the Powerline expert devolo AG have agreed to cooperate closely with one another. The two companies are developing new data communication products at the medium-voltage level. Both broadband Powerline and G3 Powerline are being used in this respect. devolo and Eichhoff will present their first joint product for the medium-voltage level with broadband Powerline technology at E-World.

Partnership in medium voltage

Based in Hesse, Eichhoff Kondensatoren GmbH can look back on almost 100 years of success in the field of electrical engineering. The company possesses unique expertise in highly modern inductive signal couplers for the medium-voltage level.
As a Powerline pioneer, devolo has been an acknowledged expert for data communication over the power line since the establishment of the company in 2003. The two companies will jointly develop innovative data communication solutions at the medium-voltage level. "We are looking forward to successful cooperation with devolo AG in Aachen. Our expert teams will jointly develop high-quality data communication solutions at the medium-voltage level," explains Bernd Luft, Managing Director of Eichhoff Kondensatoren GmbH.

Powerline communication at the medium-voltage level

Network stations play a vital role in the smart power grid. They represent the key communication interface between the network control room and the low- and medium-voltage network. But not all stations are communicatively connected for this purpose. Subsequent laying of communication cables is extremely time-consuming and expensive. Wireless communication represents a possible alternative. However, it also leads to ongoing costs. In addition, many network stations cannot be reached or can only be reached unreliably with wireless communication.
One solution is a PLC network at the medium-voltage level. The data signal is transmitted via a PLC modem and coupler from an already communicatively connected network station (e.g. through a fibre optic cable) at medium-voltage level to the network stations which were previously not communicatively connected. They are therefore integrated into the smart power grid reliably and inexpensively. Easy and quick retrofitting is also possible thanks to the use of inductive couplers. In particular, the medium voltage does not have to be switched off in this case.
G3-PLC and broadband PLC (BPL) can be considered as medium-voltage PLC technologies. Which technology variant is preferable always depends on the individual application scenario and the local conditions:
• If only smart metering data from a network cluster are sent to another transfer point, G3-PLC is also suitable at the medium-voltage level. Especially if a longer distance has to be covered in the medium-voltage network.
• If data communication is transferred from several distribution network clusters at the medium-voltage level, BPL is suitable.

devolo and Eichhoff will offer medium-voltage Powerline both with G3-PLC and BPL. "The development of both PLC variants ensures that a suitable solution is available for every application scenario and every network topology: either for smart metering, network monitoring and control, as a replacement for a ripple control system, or to regulate PV systems and transformers," says Dr. Michael Koch, Head of the devolo Smart Grid Business Unit, explaining the decision for both PLC product variants.