Muriel Médard, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the MIT EECS Department and principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at MIT, has been awarded, with co-authors Josu Bilbao, Aitor Calvo, Igor Armendariz, and Pedro Crespo, the Best Paper Award for their work “Reliable Communications with Network coding in narrowband Powerline Channel.” They presented this work at the IEEE International Symposium on Power Line Communications and its Applications (ISPLC 2014) in Glasgow in March. A worldwide forum since 1997 for communications researchers and engineers to discuss issues relating to the use of electrical power distribution as a viable communication channel, the ISPLC is now a leading technical conference in the field of Power Line Communications (PLC). Their interests cover all aspects of communications over power lines including access, home networking, in-vehicle applications, utility applications to name a few.
The work which lead author Josu Bilbao, who was a Visiting Scientist at MIT on leave from Ikerlan, Spain, Médard, and other members of the team completed, uses some of the types of technologies developed by Medard’s Network Coding Group in RLE, to provide more robust, less variable and higher data rate service over narrow band power communications lines. With the advantage of using the infrastructure already available, i.e.,the powerline already in place (in your home, office), the new channel that Medard, Bilbao, et al have described “allows you to smooth things out,” says Médard. She notes that the group is looking at other work using several networks at once.