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Broadband critical for smart grid success

By Donna Donnowitz
May 16, 2014

As utilities and cities focus on expanding their smart grid deployments, the need to support high-speed information transfer over the network grows as well. To this end, running a private broadband network along utility lines requires some secondary considerations, such as serial to Ethernet converters and the Ethernet I/O solutions to support network communications. According to SmartGridNews, a federal effort to support first responders may add a new resources for smart grid strategies to leverage in this regard.

The First Responders Network Authority is a project focused on the development of a nationwide broadband network for supporting the information needs of first responders. As the section of the Department of Commerce begins its determination to see what agencies and organizations will be included as part of this project, utilities will need to decide if they are going to make a bid, the news source noted.

"As a fire chief, I've been on many disasters or emergencies where the utility people are the most important people in my world right then," said FirstNet board member Jeff Johnson, according to the report. "On the surface, FirstNet partnering with utilities makes a great deal of business sense. Utilities do not have a clear path to the broadband spectrum they need to deploy all of the smart-grid technologies they want. FirstNet has lots of spectrum, but it really needs many of the assets held by utilities - hardened communications sites, fiber backhaul and a large user base - to make a nationwide broadband network financially viable."

FirstNet's broadband network infrastructure could be incredibly beneficial to utilities as well as support first responder and community needs. This infrastructure could optimize smart grid efforts and ensure consistent and reliable data to feed into grid optimization, distribution analysis and demand response. The best smart grid strategy will still rely on high-quality data transmission in both urban and rural environments.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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