Electrical Broadband Internet Access: New High Speed Internet TechnologyImagine plugging in your laptop and already being connected to an always on, high speed Internet connection. Have you just spent hours setting up a wireless Internet network? In the near future, the answer may be no. The power company Ameren is currently testing electrical Internet technology that can connect every home with an electrical outlet to high speed broadband Internet access via ubiquitous power lines.
Electric Broadband Internet Access: The Technology
Delivering broadband Internet over electrical wiring is no easy task. In the past, network interference, transformers and surge arresters common in power delivery systems set back companies researching electrical broadband Internet access by destabilizing data transmission. However, the technology delivering power to households has improved considerably in the past few years, removing hurdles to electrical Internet access.
The transmission process Ameren is investigating also goes a long way in allowing stable, high speed Internet access over power lines. Fiber-optic or telephone lines initially carry Internet data, avoiding high voltage lines that cause transmission destabilizing disruption. The data is then routed to medium-voltage wires on the electrical ISP’s power grid. Special technology in the grid captures the signals, then amplifies and repackages them before relaying data to customers.
Customers subscribing to electrical broadband Internet access will have two data delivery choices. They may either pick the signal up wirelessly through strategically placed utility poles that transmit broadband Internet data, or may access their broadband Internet connection from a standard electrical outlet. Adaptors plugged into the electrical outlets will transform and ferry the broadband Internet data to existing ports in the customer’s computer.
Electric Internet vs. Current Forms of Broadband Internet Access
Electrical broadband Internet will probably not replace cable, DSL and other forms of broadband Internet access. Ameren does not guarantee that the new electrical Internet service will be cheaper than current offerings. In addition, existing ISPs are more experienced with broadband Internet delivery, and are able to offer cheaper, packaged deals that consolidate television, phone, and Internet charges all on one bill. This does not mean, however, that electrical Internet does not have its place supplementing current methods of broadband Internet access.
Because a power plug is all customers need to access electrical broadband Internet, the supporting technology is already more prevalent than cable and DSL delivery systems. Electrical broadband Internet access may be especially popular in rural areas, where broadband Internet availability has lagged because of the low potential subscriber population density.
Also, since the technology is already there, electrical Internet will prove a viable option for Internet subscribers who do not already have access to high speed Internet. High speed cable, DSL and other forms of broadband Internet access will remain viable options for those in urban areas already serviced with high speed Internet.