Security and Performance Issues in PowerPlugAV MACs

Contact: Jean-Yves Le Boudec

PowerPlugAV is a networking technology for homes and SMEs which uses power supply cables for data transmission. It can propagate data over neighbouring cables, which has a major advantage (different systems need not all be on the same phase). However, this poses a number of security and performance questions.

From a security viewpoint, information may be wiretapped from neighbouring rooms, or even from outside an office. The PowerPlugAV specification provides for encryption mechanisms, but there are some concerns about their security. The goal of the project is analyze whether it is possible to wiretap and implement the solution on a real deployment in the Internet Engineering Workshop.

From a performance viewpoint, neighbouring installations may disturb each other in the sense that they may belong to the same collision domain, so the performance in one place may be reduced simply because a neighbour is active. It is possible to reduce this annoying phenomenon by the use of a MAC with one spreading code per destination, using ideas similar to those used in the UWB DCC MAC.


[1] HomePlug AV White Paper

[2] J.-Y. Le Boudec and R. Merz
Concurrent and Parallel Transmissions are Optimal for Low Data-Rate IR- UWB Networks
IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC 2008)  pdf