BPL works on a similar principle to DSL technology. Computer network information can be transmitted over the lines using signaling frequencies higher than the electrical (or voice in the case of DSL) signals. Taking advantage of otherwise unused transmission capability of the wires, computer data can be sent back and forth across the BPL network with no disruption to power output in the home.
Many homeowners do not think of their electrical system as a home network. However, after installing some basic equipment, wall outlets can in fact serve as network connection points, and home networks can be run at speeds of 1 to 3 Mbps with full Internet access.
Unfortunately, some limitations of BPL have greatly affected its popularity. BPL tends to generate much radio interference over the utility lines it runs. This interference negatively affects amateur radio operators and has generated much government regulatory attention around the world.
Likewise, the costs for utility companies to prepare their grids to support BPL can be high. Although power lines cover much area not serviced by cable or DSL, BPL service has only been made available in limited areas thus far. Strong competition from wireless technologies like WiMax also may limit the adoption of BPL.