plc – ns-3 module for simulations of power line communication networks

An ns-3 module for simulations of power line communication networks


An ns-3 module for simulations of power line communication networks

This software is freely useable provided that publications resulting from the use of this software cite the publications listed here.


F. Aalamifar, A. Schloegl, D. Harris, L. Lampe,“Modelling Power Line Communication Using Network Simulator-3”, 
IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), Atlanta, GA, USA, December 2013. 
[Online] Available: “”.


The provided module enables simulations of power line communication networks with the network simulation environment ns-3. It is intended for protocol development and application testing under realistic link performance emulation between plc devices of a deterministic grid topology. The latter has to be specified by the user in terms of its geometrical layout, the used cable types, the positions and values of network impedances and the location of plc devices within the network. The module also supports the definition of two-port network elements to reflect transfer characteristics of special components, e.g. transformer units. Transfer functions of the channel realizations are computed efficiently according to the “bottom-up” approach by use of two-conductor transmission line theory. The simulation module especially takes into account time-dependent channel conditions that change due to mains-synchronous or sporadic impedance variations. Communication, as well as interfering signals, are represented by approximated power spectral densities (PSD). At the receivers, the signal to interference and noise ratio (SINR) is obtained, which allows statements to be made on the expectable link performance for an applied OFDM modulation and coding scheme. Hence, the module is suitable for plc network simulations involving different types of noise sources and temporal channel variations close to reality. The simulation module is also aimed at evaluating protocol functioning for novel communication strategies, such as Hybrid ARQ and Cooperative Relaying schemes, that will play an important role in future plc systems.

Further information can be found in the user guide and the API documentation.


A stable ns-3 release is needed to use the plc module. It is available on Besides the plc module uses the template-based boost graph library, which has to be accessible via the system’s include path, or included manually in wscript configuration:

def configure(conf):
    conf.env.append_value('INCLUDES', ['/usr/local/boost_1_61_0'])

For installation see


The current release of the plc module provides a few simple examples for its usage. The sources are located in the directory src/plc/examples. To run e.g. the plc net device example ( go to the ns-3 root directory and type

./waf --run src/plc/examples/plc-netdevice-example


CREDITS: ns3-plc-module