Home > Critical Infrastructure Security, SCADA Security, SMART GRID > Smart Grid Companies are asking for a Dedicated Wireless Spectrum

Smart Grid Companies are asking for a Dedicated Wireless Spectrum

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

In a recent FCC workshop several utility companies lead by AEP (American Electric Power) brought up “Again” the idea of having the government allocate a certain wireless spectrum (calls for following the Canadian footsteps of allocating the 30 MHz ranges ) specifically for utilities to use for smart grid purposes. This would mean either restricting that spectrum to a few select groups, or making it completely off limits for other types of companies and organizations working on things other than smart grid technology.

The workshop agenda posted some other important questions like:

-What are the pros and cons of the various types of networks?
-How much bandwidth is needed to support Smart Grid communications? Do current networks meet these needs?

More on the topic

    Comments: Going through several presentations from the workshop I want to highlight the following:

– Its clear that telco giants like AT&T are leading a band advocating for using the public wireless network for the Smartgrid describing the wireless public network as “secure” and “reliable” , with one of the presentations saying that “Adding all possible meters in the United States = %0.0002 increase in AT&T network traffic”. ( which might be true and more cost efficient than other alternatives but it sure sounds like putting all the eggs in one basket.)

AEP’s Position on Dedicated wireless:
– Needed to support the growing voice and data needs for existing SCADA, voice dispatch, AVL, and mobile data applications for the field workforce “So news like Energy Utility laptop stolen will now have a whole different and scary meaning

-Needed to support the new and expanding “Smart Grid” data needs of AMI, and DA

-Dedicated spectrum is much less likely to receive interference and has a remedy procedure if interference is experienced

-Dedicated, licensed spectrum would likely allow for higher transmitter power, reducing the amount of infrastructure required to serve a given area, when compared to unlicensed solutions

-Harmonized with the Canadian grant of 30 MHz at 1.8 GHz

-Common spectrum allocation with Canada supports economies of scale for equipment and service providers lowering overall cost of ownership to utilities and ultimately lower rates to rate payers

-Quicker time to have equipment available since manufacturers will be making equipment for Canadian utilities “ummmm

-The allocation of 30 MHz will support many utility critical infrastructure systems. (AMI, DA, SCADA, Voice Dispatch, Mobile
Data, and AVL)

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