The implementation of renewable energy sources are being followed up by still more electric applications that will have unpredictable influences on the grid. Radio Frequency communication systems are not submitted to the same restrictions as cabled systems are. The wireless technology enables a mesh-system where up to 1,000 meters are mutually connected in networks communicating with one of two concentrators. Power line networks lack the fallback possibility if a communication line is broken or filled with noise. In radio, you will have hundreds of alternative routes handled automatically by the network as it is not stuck with the physical wires. The Radio Mesh Network is composed exclusively of meters and concentrators so there is no extra infrastructure to build up in radio solutions. All meters also act as repeaters for the radio mesh network. Formerly, RF-communication was handicapped by short range and expensive antenna installations at the metering points. At the same time, the communication was confined to license free bands which often raised the question of interference problems. This has practically never been a real problem, but it could arouse some skepticism towards RF.
Some years ago, Kamstrup decided to use licensed frequency bands for the routing communication between the meters. These licensed bands are country specific and often reserved for specific purposes like meter reading which eliminates interference and opens up for the use of a much higher transmission power than in license free bands. The higher power results in higher stability in the meter readings and a considerably longer range, with compact internal antennas.
About the author:
Gert Skriver is Corporate Editor at Kamstrup A/S (Skanderborg, Denmark), a manufacturer of system solutions for smart energy and water metering. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy of EETimes Europe
See related links:
Smart energy interoperability: it's now or never
Power Line Communication – Design archive
Modern power line communication for the smart grid
What is Power Line Communication?
Meters evolve to bring the smart grid home
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