One of the most important elements of a utility’s critical infrastructure is not easily seen. Unlike the large transmission towers, power lines, and utility poles dotting our landscape, the wireless communication infrastructure needed to keep the power, water and gas flowing is generally unseen.
Without secure, reliable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems utilities cannot guarantee the resiliency of the grid. Wireless communication networks are essential to protecting the grid from cyber and physical attack especially in remote areas that are not supported by traditional wireless networks.
Reliability is a hallmark of the utility industry, so it is paramount that voice and data services are supported by a secure and reliable wireless communications network. The reliable, continuous delivery of electricity and water influences our nation’s economy and personal well-being. To ensure that the infrastructure delivering these services stays in top working order every hour of every day, utilities need wireless communications systems to do the same.
Any disruption of or interference to communications could threaten the safety of utility workers as well as hinder the reliable delivery of electricity and clean water to consumers. The utility industry has long relied on communications technologies to improve revenue measurement efficiency and to ensure the safety and reliability of transmission and distribution networks. Utilities need for a cost-effective communications solution that can enable the same efficiencies and monitoring capabilities in remote areas that cannot be cost-effectively covered using present communications approaches.
Space Data’s Spectrum network can fulfill critical communication needs in several utility use cases, such as:
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for Remote Areas
Traditional wireless networks cannot effectively cover remote areas cost effectively due to the high cost of infrastructure or the ability to obtain licensed spectrum. Space Data has a solution for both of these challenges. Using the SkySite® Network, Space Data has the ability to provide a data communications link to any meter, no matter where it’s located. Additionally, Space Data can sell or lease licensed spectrum to the utility.
Field Area Networks (FANs) for the Grid Modernization
FANs connect people, processes and devices to smart utility networks, supporting a variety of utility applications used to optimize grid performance and operations including distribution automation (DA), remote asset management, smart metering, and remote workforce automation. The FAN also serves as a foundation for future applications such as distributed power generation and energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, and microgrids.
Pole-top Equipment Monitoring
A remote terminal unit (RTU) is a microprocessor-controlled electronic device that interfaces objects in the physical world to a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system by transmitting telemetry data to a master system, and by using messages from the master supervisory system to control connected objects. Space Data has the ability to provide a cost-effective way to make the business case for the deployment of RTUs to monitor pole-top equipment such as reclosure switches, capacitor banks and voltage regulators.
Land Mobile Radio (LMR)
LMR standards bodies have incorporated utility-specific requirements, while working closely with manufacturing communities to define the standards. Land Mobile Radio systems are terrestrially based professional push to talk wireless communications systems commonly used for critical communications like utilities. LMR systems typically consist of handheld portable radios, vehicle mounted mobile radios, fixed base stations and repeaters, and network infrastructure.