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Powerline communication is certainly not the fastest type of communication when compared to wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, radio frequency or wired communication such as RS-485, fiber optic or Ethernet. However, even if these technologies are faster, they have their limitations in terms of reliability and security.

The speed of powerline communication can vary greatly depending on the environment where the transmission takes place. The main criteria that cause the speed to vary are:
– The architecture of the electrical installation
– Other electrical equipment that is on the same electrical network
– The impedance on the network
– The distance between nodes
– Etc.

Nyx Hemera Technologies is a global pioneer in powerline communication.

This knowledge of the technology has allowed the Nyx team to identify, and continue to identify, markets where the technology works and offers several advantages.

The first market targeted by the Nyx team was naturally the tunnel market. The humidity and salinity of the environment and the vibrations damage the equipment installed in the tunnels. This is why wired systems, which have an average of 5 connectors per fixture, often result in unwanted tunnel closures. In addition, the waves of wireless technologies do not pass through certain materials such as concrete.

The speed of communication is also less critical here, as abrupt changes in lighting scenarios are not desirable for the safety of tunnel users.

Powerline communication technology is therefore perfect in terms of speed for a tunnel lighting control system. In addition, no additional wiring or equipment in the tunnel is required to control the lights. In fact, the local controllers are installed in the luminaires and the communication is done on the existing electrical wires.

That said, the average transmission rate to each luminaire (node) is approximately 2880 bits per second (bps) depending on the environment. However, the Nyx Hemera Technologies R&D team is working hard to improve this speed by developing internal network characterization tools to improve communication performance in terms of both speed and robustness.

One operator once asked the Nyx team to be able to change lighting scenarios in a tunnel closed to traffic in less than 30 seconds.

To do this, Nyx Hemera engineers reprogrammed the system by defining groups of fixtures with the same required light levels. This technique allowed to increase the speed of scenario change in less than 10 seconds on a network with 341 luminaires in a 4 km tunnel.

Nyx Hemera Technologies continues to invest in research and development, constantly pushing the boundaries of powerline communication to make it a more reliable, robust and faster communication technology.