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Interoperability a major consideration for smart grid deployments

By Max Burkhalter
March 6, 2014

Utilities have to focus on several key factors as they roll out smart grid solutions. Interoperability and the optimization of machine communication, such as smart meters, is critical to success, and firms that don't invest in the right supporting technology will see increased latency and risk as their deployment continues. As such, more utilities need to consider the value in high-quality serial to Ethernet converters and terminal servers to minimize latency and ensure quality data transmission along their power grids.

According to SmartGridNews, one of the biggest risk factors that utilities need to prepare for as their technology evolves is the threat of increasingly isolated "islands of innovation." Improving hardware presents unique opportunities to enhance the grid and deliver higher quality service to consumers, but if firms don't invest wisely they could risk halting future progress due to lack of scalability or compatibility at a crucial moment.

This is leading toward an increased emphasis on smart grid interoperability. Utility providers will need to invest in high-quality hardware to support network growth at the foundation of these efforts as well. This way, when new technologies become available or the market growth introduces new critical changes, providers will be able to adapt readily without worrying about the stability or quality of their network.

Of course, there are many considerations to make when focusing on the interoperability and interconnectivity of a smart grid network. This is why standards are being developed to enhance this area of concern. IEEE 1323, for example, focuses on system communication and how they use the data that is shared. Other standards for system compatibility and beneficial information exchange also promote overall growth, and utilities that ensure their investments follow these protocols will be able to rest easy knowing they are setting themselves up for success.

The underlying need for compatibility and scalability is highlighted by the industry's reliance on smart grids for the future of energy provisioning and renewables adoption. As providers embrace these technologies their ability to harness renewable energy and deliver the ensuing benefits to customers grows, setting the stage for continued innovation and improvement.

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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