25c3 Introduces Open Source Tool for PLC Monitoring

Dec 30, 2008

Two French developers have introduced a configuration software for Intellon-based Power Line Communication devices (PLC) at the 25c3 in Berlin. Simultaneously, the developers declared the software, called Faifa, as Open Source.

Faifa enables Level 1and 2 monitoring of OSI modulated signals and can access the PLC chips RAM. The software can configure any device using Intellon 6000 and 6300 chips. Developers of the recently started project are looking for testers for various Firmware versions. At the moment, the project website contains the source code only (SVN). The developers, both working in the Telecommunications Technic, told Linux Magazine Online they had the idea at the 24c3 last year. Florian Fainelli develops WLAN chips and assists in kernel development. Xavier Carcelle works in the research and development department of the French power company EDF and is author of a book on Powerline Communication.

PLC uses a device that modulates data signals in electricity cables to enable LAN over in-house power lines. A company alliance consisting of Intel, Cisco, Motorola and others, are working on a corresponding standard. In 2000, this Homeplug Powerline Alliance established the Homeplug Specification 1.0 which allowed a data transfer of 14MBits/s. At the CEBIT in 2005, they then presented the current version, Homeplug AV, which can theoretically transfer data at a rate of 200MBits/s. The IEEE Work Group 1901, which has been in existence since 2005, laid middle of December 2008 the ground stone for a future IEEE Standard.
Critics of Powerline Communication claim the unrestricted flow of radio waves entering a building could spread and intefere with the reception of short wave radio signals (TDF Interference Radiation).

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