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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a surface wave transmission line (SWTL)?
Transmission lines such as coaxial cable rely on transverse electromagnetic mode (TEM) where E and H fields are perpendicular to the direction of propagation between two conductors. Surface wave transmission line (SWTL) relies on a transverse magnetic (TM) mode where only the magnetic field is perpendicular to the direction of propagation and the electromagnetic wave is essentially ‘guided’ along a single conductor. Frequencies from below 20 MHz to above 1,000 GHz have been supported.
Do E-Line transmission lines radiate and interfere with other signals?
Very little signal energy comes from the E-Line itself but at the launchers and at any impairment there will be some signal leakage. This can be desirable for the ability to create a distributed antenna system and provide easy connectivity to the system. Typically the frequencies of interest are in the licensed and unlicensed communications bands and are easily within FCC Part 15 requirements for RF emissions. E-Line is the only power line communications method operating on medium voltage electric power lines that has been given a clean bill of health from the ARRL.
What is required to implement a SWTL system?
System elements include: launchers to establish and receive the guided wave, amplifier nodes to maintain bidirectional signal-to-noise ratio along the system, and appropriate high voltage isolation when used with utility power lines.
Are there limitations to the type of conductor that can be used?
Systems have been demonstrated using AWG #36 wire, common power utility aluminum and copper lines, and copper conductors as large as 2” in diameter.
Are there limitations to the type of networks that can be implemented?
E-Line transmission systems can be built that are very wide bandwidth and very flexible. For example, a system could be deployed that supports a combination of spectra, 3G and 4G mobile phones, point-point backhaul, ISP and Smart Grid applications simultaneously on a single conductor.
Can E-Line work over home wiring networks?
E-Line works best over non-insulated overhead medium-voltage or high-voltage power lines.