Communication Technology

Plug’n’Control – Device Coupling in the Smart Grid - Current modulated data for device identification and localization

Ref.-No. 4057

Keywords: Elektromobilität, Ladevorgang, Datenübertragung, strommodulation, Stromleitung, Authentifizierung, Identifizierung, Electromobility, loading, data transmission, current modulation, power line, authentication, identification

For this purpose, the technology uses the specific channel characteristics as well as the typical tree topology of a low-voltage network in order to assign a consumer clearly to a control system and to build up a cascaded management. The figure shows such a system-wide control system. For the purpose of coupling, a current-modulated message is first sent with a frequency matched to the network impedance, which contains the coupling information (MAC, Puiblic Key). The load impedances are orders of magnitude higher than the line impedance. For this reason, the message propagates unidirectionally towards the local area network (green path in figure). In page paths, the messages are typically not receivable. Controllers in main and sub-distributions up to the local area network can couple with the user, if these are placed on the current path between the transformer station and the load (green control modules). Neighboring controls in sidelines (e.g., adjacent building, adjacent stub) can not receive the coupling message (marked red). The control systems thus creates zones whose subordinate consumers it can include and it can couple with them for control purposes. A useful combination offers a power factor correction (PFC) as a communication interface (Ref. No. 4824). This allows the transmitter unit to be integrated into the power supply of an end user.


  • Automated identification of consumers in low-voltage networks, which are assigned to a controller
  • No QR codes and RFID / NFC for identification at loading points
  • Automated coupling of loads with control systems, e.g. energy and Bottleneck Management
  • Construction of a cascaded control system
  • High safety from interception
  • Compatible with existing infrastructure. Only minor expense on expenditure is necessary
  • Low implementation effort
  • Cost-effective

Commercial Application

Areas of application are in particular the network bottleneck management (lines, transformers) and metering systems for mobile consumers (electric vehicles). The process is "Plug'n'Play" capable and does not require a complex IT infrastructure expansion. Existing network connections such as Schuko sockets are sufficient. The generation of the current-modulated messages can be realized very simply with the aid of common switching network elements. Since infrastructure extensions are only necessary to a very small extent, the method can be implemented very cost-effectively.

Status Quo

A German patent application was filed. The process has been verified by simulations and experiment. On behalf of the Technical University of Dortmund, we offer interested companies the opportunity to license and further develop the Technology.

An invention of TU Dortmund.

Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Brennemann
+49 208 9410533