Friday, May 03, 2013
M2M communications central to smart grid development
The vaguely amusing, somewhat overdone sci-fi cliche of machines that become intelligent and threaten to take over the world makes for nice fiction.In reality, robots and other machines just don't have the ability to communicate easily like we see so often in science fiction. Well, it would be more accurate to say they don't have that communications capability yet, because it is certainly on its way.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications infrastructure has been around a while.Just look at the manufacturing sector, where robots have been building everything from cars to cheap trinkets for years. In these setups, highly-specialized serial networks have been developed so robots can get the information they need without any dropped data packets or similar issues. But a funny thing has happened, Ethernet has begun to step up to the task of M2M communication, making it a fairly inexpensive option.
The rise of the machines
With Ethernet being able to power more M2M communications, and serial to Ethernet solutions available if a machine or robot is built for serial, the potential for easy communication between different machines in a network has risen. Furthermore, machine-to-person communication is increasingly possible as specialized devices can send important data to a variety of end users. Furthermore, pervasive Wi-Fi is also contributing to easier M2M communications in some market segments. But all of this does not point to the end of the world. Instead of living out a sci-fi nightmare, M2M communications are contributing to a potentially better world.
M2M communications and the smart grid
According to a recent report from The Energy Collective, the capabilities offered by M2M communications have proven integral in enabling smart meters and other advanced smart grid technologies to communicate with utility providers and enabling two-way data transit. While a lot of the discussion about smart grid solutions to this point has been about large-scale concepts, like make renewables work more effectively, advances in M2M communications are just as substantial a part of a successful smart grid deployment.
Terminal servers can play an integral role in helping utility providers and electric companies establish a solid foundation for M2M communications. Terminal server solutions provide the serial-to-Ethernet conversion capabilities that can create a robust, interoperable M2M network.
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.