PhD on Grid Diagnostics and Full Duplex PLC Completed

Federico Passerini successfully completed his PhD under my supervision defending the thesis “Exploitation of the power line channel properties to enable new applications” on February 25, 2019. The defense committee was formed by prof.s H. Zangl (AAU), X. Mestre (CTTC), M. Paolone (EPFL) and A. Tonello (supervisor).

The thesis sheds new light on the understanding of the characteristics of the electrical grid medium when sensed by high frequency signals, such as those transmitted by power line communication transceivers. It studies the fundamental properties and the relations that exist between measurable electrical quantities and  the grid status. Therefore, it shows that grid sensing and diagnostics can be performed for:

  • the derivation of the grid topology;
  • the identification and localization of faults;
  • the identification of  power cables ageing.

The thesis digs not only into fundamental physical properties, and algorithms, but it also investigates possible architectures for measuring the line impedance and the reflection coefficient. It shows that a full-duplex sensing architecture working in the frequency range 1 kHz-100 MHz offers good results. Such an architecture can serve for a double purpose:

  • for sensing the grid;
  • for full duplex communications.

These findings have motivated the study of full duplex communication aspects as well. Coherently with the thesis goal, which was to identify new application for PLC, two new studied  aspects of full duplex PLC are

  • physical layer security
  • fully analog relaying.

In the former case, the thesis proposes physical layer key generation by exploiting common information at both the transmitter and the receiver. In the latter case, it derives a fully analog full duplex relay to be deployed for coverage extension in large PLC networks.

Selected Publications

  • F. Passerini, A. M. Tonello, “Smart Grid Monitoring Using Power Line Modems: Anomaly Detection and Localization,” IEEE Trans. on Smart Grid, 2019.
    preprint – IEEE Xplore version
  • F. Passerini, A. M. Tonello, “Smart Grid Monitoring Using Power Line Modems: Effect of Anomalies on Signal Propagation,” IEEE Access, 2019.
  • F. Passerini, A.M. Tonello, “Analysis of High Frequency Impedance Measurement Techniques for Power Line Network Sensing,” IEEE Sensors Journal, pp.7630-7640, July 2017.
  • download
  • F. Passerini, A.M. Tonello, “On the Exploitation of Admittance Measurements for Wired Network Topology Derivation,” IEEE Trans. on Instrumentation and Measurements, vol. 66, n. 3, pp. 374-382, March 2017.
  • F. Passerini, A. M. Tonello, “Analog Full Duplex Amplify-and-Forward Relay for Power Line Communication Networks,” IEEE Communication Letters 2019.
  • F. Passerini, A. M. Tonello, “Physical Layer Key Generation for Secure Power Line Communications,” submitted to IEEE Trans. on Communications, 2018.
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