SOLUTION PAPERAMI AND BEYOND:HOW WIRELESSBROADBANDENABLES THESMART GRID TODAYAND TOMORROW
As they plan to take their first step towards their Smart Grid vision,most utilities are beginning their journey with the implementation of anAMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system. More and more of theseutilities are also realizing that to truly harness the power of the Smart Grid,they must also have a separate wireless broadband infrastructure capable ofdelivering 24/7 high-speed communication to enable a variety of additionalSmart Grid benefits. These include more cost-effective backhaul of AMIdata, delivery of sophisticated energy management/control programs andreal-time connectivity within the utility to help improve service delivery,outage management and overall productivity. In essence, the deploymentof a wireless broadband communications network for Smart Gridapplications enables the utility to become a truly “Connected Utility.”Many utilities around the world are also discovering that partnering witha wireless innovator such as Cambium to implement a private wirelessbroadband communications network for their AMI systems makes bothoperational and economic sense…not just for today, but also for the future.
In recent months, there has been increased attention to green energy andalternative energy sources. But even as the world searches for innovative newsolutions, most energy experts seem to agree on one point. Our very firstpriority should be using the energy we already have more efficiently andcost-effectively. Under the rallying cry “Energy Efficiency is the First Fuel,” thisemphasis on greatly improving energy efficiency is driving significant changein the utilities industry and is the driving force behind the Smart Grid.RESURGENCE IN REGULATION the AMI data for three reasons: wide coverage footprint,The push for greater energy efficiency is coming from zero implementation cost and low monthly fee. As thesenumerous sources, many of them regulatory. Typically, pilot systems become fully operational, however, utilitiesregulations include stringent conservation policies, higher with thousands of AMI collection points can be caught offsafety levels, demand-response service requirements, guard by the large Operations and Maintenance (O&M)specified levels of energy efficiency and more. They come costs of continuing to use public carriers for backhaulingfrom a variety of international, national, regional and local the AMI data. In the future, adding more Smart Gridresources. In the United States, for example, a series of applications over the cellular network could easily driveregulations have sent utilities a clear signal that they O&M costs through the roof.should be prepared to leverage the Smart Grid sooner Backhaul operations make up a relatively small portionrather than later. But the Smart Grid will do more than of the overall technology costs for an AMI system andhelp the environment; utilities are also tapping into the account for approximately 10 to 15 percent of the cost.Smart Grid to gain a technological advantage in an Nevertheless, since the cost of backhauling AMI data over aincreasingly competitive marketplace. public network can be substantially higher than anticipated, some utilities have suspended AMI installation until a moreTHE REALITIES OF AMI cost-effective, scalable backhaul network can be utilized.AMI initiatives are moving forward on a global basis and atgreat speeds despite their high cost. In the United States When you factor in the recurring costs associated withalone, more than 140 million electro-mechanical meters will relying exclusively on public cellular service providers forbe converted to smart meters. Utilities are investing millions backhaul with the likelihood that they will not be able to— even billions — of dollars in AMI systems, including the provide 100 percent coverage of a utility’s entire customercosts of the smart meters themselves, meter installation base, the ROI for deploying a scalable private AMI backhauland collection points. Utilities have invested a lot of time network that covers the entire utility service territoryin evaluating various AMI vendors in numerous small-scale — with enough bandwidth to support future Smart Gridpilots usually consisting of one or two collection points. applications — becomes very attractive.Typically, these pilots use public cellular as the backhaul for ENTERPRISE BACK OFFICE NEIGHBORHOOD AREA NETWORK APPLICATIONS: • BILLING • LOAD MANAGEMENT HOME AREA NETWORK: • OUTAGE MANAGEMENT • SMART THERMOSTAT • CRM / CIS • HVAC • APPLIANCES WIDE AREA COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK • LOAD CONTROLSOLUTION PAPER AMI AND BEYOND 3
“For most utilities, building a high-speed wireless network on the back of their AMI systems is an investment that will provide value wellTHE ADVANTAGE OF GOING PRIVATE • BACKHAUL NETWORKS are the high capacity, beyond AMI. OnceIt’s no surprise then that a growing number of utility low latency broadband networks that extend the deployed, thecompanies have decided to build their own private wireless enterprise network to remote areas, bringing the data organization will havebroadband communications networks to support their AMI from the access networks back to the enterprise. real-time two-wayand Smart Grid applications. “For most utilities, building Examples of backhaul networks include both wired and communicationsa high-speed wireless network on the back of their AMI wireless point-to-point and point-to-multipoint broadband with the bandwidthsystems is an investment that will provide value well systems, fiber and microwave systems. These backhaul to support virtuallybeyond AMI,” says analyst Rick Nicholson, vice president, networks form the backbone for all Smart Grid access everything theyEnergy Insights. “Once deployed, the organization will have networks. want to do.”real-time two-way communications with the bandwidthto support virtually everything they want to do.” In the A SOUND BUSINESS CASE RICK NICHOLSON,overall AMI picture, the cost of building a private wireless Let’s examine a sample business case for a public versus VICE PRESIDENT,broadband network is relatively small, but the advantages private wide area communications network that includes ENERGY INSIGHTScan be huge. 1,000,000 smart meters, 2,000 AMI collection points and 10,000 Smart Grid devices (e.g. capacitor banks, reclosers,ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL switches, etc.). The network provides 100 percent coverageAs much as everybody would like to have just one network to each collection point and 1 kb of data is read daily fromto meet all their wireless needs, it is just not feasible. every meter. Finally, $15 per month is assumed for chargesA variety of factors, including lack of a coordinated for the cellular data plan.frequency band and the variance in requirements between As shown in the illustration, the results are ratherAMI backhaul and the various distribution automation astounding. For the public network, OPEX costs equateapplications, have led many utilities to the same conclusion: to approximately $2,160,000 annually for a total cost ofmultiple networks are required to meet their Smart Gridvision. In the past, each business unit independentlyselected a network for its application, but today’s network PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE WIDE AREA COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKselection must take the Smart Grid needs of all businessunits into account. This is a major paradigm shift for utilitiesand it is leading to business cases that are much stronger 12,000,000 $10,805,000and much more favorable to investors and public utility 10,000,000 YEAR 5commissions (PUCs). 8,000,000 Payback for YEAR 4 $2,160,000Two types of networks are required to achieve a Smart Grid Private Network Annual 6,000,000 7 monthsvision — access networks and backhaul networks. YEAR 3 Recurring 4,000,000 OPEX Costs YEAR 2• ACCESS NETWORKS are typically used by remote $1,380,000 2,000,000 devices for communication at the edge of the network. 1-TIME CAPEX YEAR 1 Examples of access networks are Zigbee, WiFi, HomePlug 0 PRIVATE NETWORK PUBLIC NETWORK and proprietary meshing networks.SOLUTION PAPER AMI AND BEYOND 4
$10,805,000 over five years. This is in sharp contrast to • CAPABILITIES. Security, reliability and ruggedthe private network that required a one time CAPEX of equipment.$1,380,000 and delivers payback within 7 months. It istruly amazing how quickly $15 per month adds up. • COST. As a capital investment, costs can be recoverable — and recurring costs are eliminated.CAPITAL INVESTMENT VS. O&M As more and more utilities examine the communicationsA private wireless broadband network makes a great deal capabilities of their new AMI systems, the benefits of aof sense in terms of reducing the high cost of backhaul private wireless communications network solution areand enabling a utility to keep costs under tighter control. becoming readily apparent. But the advantages of deployingPUCs tend to look at backhaul costs using leased lines a private network go well beyond AMI as utilities lookas operational expenses, and thus, they are normally not to the future and their goals of becoming true connectedrecoverable. On the other hand, building a private wireless utilities.network is usually considered a capital investment thathelps improve efficiency, service, reliability and security. BEYOND AMITherefore, a utility can typically recover much of the cost As utilities spend enormous time and resources building DETAILEDof the entire network. AMI networks, they are also beginning to look beyond AMI VIEW OF and discovering that properly designed two-way wireless AMI SYSTEMDeployment itself is a significant advantage. Wirelessnetworks like those from Cambium offer affordable start-up telecommunications systems are the great enabler of the AMI systems are madecosts, simple installation that can be accomplished in a connected utility of the future. As the rush to deploy AMI possible by a wirelessmatter of days instead of weeks or months, and an excep- solutions intensifies, savvy utilities are also planning to communications network.tionally low Total Cost of Ownership. The most important leverage their high-speed communications networks for Network elements include: a variety of additional applications. These networks are smart meters that collectadvantages of a private wireless broadband network are built upon sound business cases for providing enhanced information from the home;summed up in what Cambium calls the Five C’s: mesh data collection productivity, service, security and ROI. Additionally, wireless• COVERAGE. Even in very remote areas, coverage communications networks make it easier to add new points; point-to-multipoint subscriber modules that is not only possible, but efficient and affordable. distributed energy resources (such as solar and wind power) transmit data back to an to the grid as they become available.• CAPACITY. High bandwidth capacity and scalable access point cluster at to support growth requirements. a remote facility; and point-to-point backhaul• CONTROL. Particularly during disasters, the utility that sends data to the back controls their own network and is not subject office enterprise system. to the mercy of a public carrier. NEIGHBORHOOD AREA NETWORK ENTERPRISE BACK OFFICE SUBSTATION EXISTING FIBER OR POINT-TO-POINT EQUIPMENT KEY: NEIGHBORHOOD AREA NETWORK POINT-TO-POINT MESH GATEWAY POINT-TO-MULTIPOINT SMART METER ACCESS POINT CLUSTER POINT-TO-MULTIPOINT SUBSCRIBER MODULESOLUTION PAPER AMI AND BEYOND 5
Other expanded applications include: many regulatory agencies. These networks, coupled with• REMOTE MONITORING AND CONTROL. the utility’s AMI system, provide connectivity and band- Most utilities have long wished for automation, real-time width to each installed smart meter, enabling support for monitoring and remote control of system elements such demand side management programs that can help reduce as primary and secondary substations, power lines, energy consumption through voluntary and involuntary capacitor banks, feeder switches, fault indicators and programs. These include programs that send pricing other physical facilities. So far, the major deterrent has signals to customers and/or automatically control been cost. Now, with affordable wireless broadband customer devices such as thermostats, pool pumps, solutions, networks can be extended simply and cost- water heaters, air conditioning and more. effectively, allowing remote facilities to be monitored around the clock with applications such as SCADA • LOAD MANAGEMENT. By empowering and video surveillance. The result is not only fewer and applications such as Critical Peak Pricing (CPP), Time shorter disruptions, but also significantly improved of Use (TOU) and Direct Load Control, private wireless management of power quality. broadband networks can help utilities reduce the strain on the grid during peak usage times. Even small• WIFI HOT SPOTS. Wireless broadband networks reductions or shifts in peak load can reduce a utility’s can also significantly improve productivity through the need for increased capacity, which in turn can help lessen creation of WiFi hot spots that allow real-time commu- the need for new power plants. In addition, because nications to and from employees in the field. Now, for wholesale energy prices spike during critical peak example, a worker can transmit data from a substation periods, reduction in peak demand can lower the spot directly into the utility’s main system without having to price for wholesale energy, providing cost savings that drive back to the nearest office. Field engineers can also can be passed on to customers. download or view blueprints and network diagrams on their computer screens precisely when and where they • 6 GHZ UNDERBUILD NETWORK need them. This instant two-way connectivity improves EXPANSION. Many utilities continue to rely heavily customer service and eliminates wasted time, dollars on licensed microwave communication networks that are now in need of digital upgrades and incremental As utilities spend and fuel. capacity to meet increasing demand for services and enormous time and• DEMAND-RESPONSE SERVICES. Two-way higher performance. An increasing number of these resources building customer communications empowered by system-wide utilities are utilizing Cambium wireless broadband solu- AMI networks, they wireless networks enable the automated demand tions to provide an efficient and cost-effective unlicensed are also beginning response and management programs being man ated by d alternative to expensive 6 GHz link replacement. to look beyond AMI and discovering that properly designed two-way wireless tele ommunications c systems are the great enabler of the connected utility of the future.SOLUTION PAPER AMI AND BEYOND 6
CAMBIUM POINT-TO-MULTIPOINT WIRELESS BROADBAND ACCESS NETWORKS CAMBIUM CAMBIUM’S POINT-TO-POINT (PTP) WIRELESS Cambium Point-to-Multipoint WIRELESS ETHERNET solutions deliver scalable, BROADBAND BRIDGES interference-resistant, high-speed PORTFOLIO CAMBIUM connectivity to multiple locations. WIRELESS MANAGER Cambium’s comprehensive Cambium’s Point-to-Point Point-to-multipoint solutions solutions provide maximum portfolio of reliable and provide exceptionally powerful cost-effective wireless reliability and performance in and reliable performance, power, Cambium Networks Wireless a wide range of environments. Manager helps you achieve broadband solutions offers range and bandwidth. high-speed network The PTP solutions operate in a increased uptime through better variety of frequencies and deliver visibility of your network. This solutions that support data rates of up to 300 Mbps in network management software data, voice and video high-interference, long-distance tool offers breakthrough map- communications, enabling Line-of-Sight (LOS) and Non-Line- based visualization capabilities a broad range of applica- of-Sight (NLOS) applications. using Google maps combined tions that leverage the with configuration, provisioning, Smart Grid. alerting and reporting features to deliver outstanding visibility and control. Cambium radios can operate in parallel with existing THE ULTIMATE GOAL microwave radios; they can be placed on the same Ultimately, the goal of the new Connected Utility is the towers and use the same antennas and cabling, providing empowerment of the entire utility enterprise through mobile additional capacity using existing infrastructure. and fixed intelligent devices and high-speed two-way connectivity with virtually every part of the organization.Even as they work at breakneck speed to implement their As they complete deployment of their powerful AMIinitial AMI systems, a great many utilities are planning for systems, the best-in-class utilities will leverage theirincreased usage of the Smart Grid. By installing private own private wireless broadband networks to deliverwireless broadband networks to complete their AMI increasing value from a broad range of powerful andsolution, these utilities are ensuring future growth in both productive automated applications. Bottom line, theservice and profitability by preparing themselves for these connected utility will be able to leverage the Smart Gridand other energy-wise applications that are on the horizon. and its AMI system to efficiently and cost-effectively meet public service, environmental, regulatory and competitive needs today… and well into the future.SOLUTION PAPER AMI AND BEYOND 7