Smart Grids worldwide share the need for communications and connectivity as a common requirement for successful deployment. Connecting to assets, sensors, data, or end users ultimately relies on a robust, secure, and manageable communications network to overlay the utility network. Discovering, securing, and managing a wide range of remote devices across the network is essential to a communications strategy for a comprehensive Smart Grid deployment.
In the United States, utilities have recognized that connectivity to switches, capacitor banks, sensors, and substations provide the foundational support for Smart Grid applications such as distribution automation, Volt/VAR control, and predictive maintenance.
Outside the United States, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are installing communications systems within their transformer stations which provide for backhaul connectivity to their metering data concentrators as well as intra-station connectivity for assets with the station such as sensors, remote terminal units (RTU), and protection switches. These new communication networks are being leveraged to add sophisticated supervision and automation capabilities throughout the network.
With its flexible, WAN-agnostic, Communications product portfolio and supporting network and device management software solutions, CURRENT is redefining the way utilities securely connect to the assets within their distribution grid. CURRENT’s Communications solutions support the widest range of WAN technologies for backhaul networks as well as full remote management, upgrade, and troubleshooting through a utility’s network operating center.
With CURRENT’s Communications portfolio, utilities can easily and efficiently manage inter-substation (WAN) and intra-substation connectivity. CURRENT’s Communications solutions enable not only IP connectivity to substations, but allow utilities to connect devices within a transformer station through a securely routed network platform. CURRENT supports numerous types of low-latency IP communication technologies, including fiber, 3G wireless (GSM-GPRS, HSPA and EVDO), DSL, WiMax, Ethernet, and broadband-over-powerline (BPL), giving utilities the flexibility to select the communications solutions which are most appropriate for their network design. CURRENT’s Communications products include:
Communication and Connectivity Engine (CCE)
CURRENT’s flagship communications solution for large distribution transformer stations combines a secure, remotely managed IP routing engine with modular WAN and LAN card modules to support inter- and intra-substation communications. In addition, CURRENT’s Data Concentrator and Sensing solutions can also be integrated as cards within the chassis, providing the utility with a single innovative Smart Grid gateway. Modules for CURRENT’s CCE include:
- Core Routing Engine – CURRENT’s CCE routing engine supports a range of security, management, and data handling capabilities and serves as the card management and discovery platform for the CCE chassis. Additionally, the core routing engine allows for Ethernet LAN or WAN connectivity as well as serial connection support for RS-232 and RS-485 protocols.
- AC or DC power supplies – CURRENT’s CCE solution can be powered by AC or DC power supplies and support battery back-up or capacitor hold-up for powering through a fault or outage.
- 6-port Ethernet Module – Ideal for connected any Ethernet devices located within the transformer station into the WAN backhaul network.
- 3G Wireless (GSM-GPRS, HSPA, and EVDO) WAN Backhaul Module.
- MV Broadband-over-Powerline Module – Ideal for providing station-to-station connectivity in order to aggregate stations into a single backhaul location, CURRENT’s Medium Voltage BPL (MV BPL) product line utilizes the utility’s existing MV cables to create a high-speed two way “middle haul” network.
- Data Concentrator Module – CURRENT’s DC infrastructure products can be directly integrated into the CCE in a module form factor. Learn more.
- Sensing Module – CURRENT’s LVA sensing products can be directly integrated into the CCE in a module form factor. Learn more.
Broadband over Powerline Utility Gateway
Ideal for providing station-to-station connectivity in order to aggregate stations into a single backhaul location, CURRENT’s MV BPL standalone gateway product line utilizes the utility’s existing MV cables to create a high-speed two way “middle haul” network.
This back office software application interfaces with routing solutions offered by CURRENT or third party vendors, providing complete smart grid communications management, such as fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security as well as comprehensive device management such as remote software upgrade and downgrade.
CURRENT’s communications products support a wide variety of communications technologies including fiber, 3G wireless (GSM-GPRS, HSPA and EVDO), DSL, WiMax, Ethernet, cable and broadband over powerline (BPL) that can be deployed to meet each utility’s individual needs and seamlessly integrated and managed via a single software platform.
CURRENT’s communications products have the ability to incorporate smart grid functionality within a single routing chassis (CCE) or be integrated into CURRENT’s data concentrator or sensing products as standalone solutions.
CURRENT’s communications products utilize advancements in secure communications networking to enable secure communications across all parts of the network.
CURRENT’s experience in designing and implementing MV BPL solutions for utility networks provides for a very cost effective alternative to opex intensive public network options.