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Obscure technology just as important for smart grid success as meters

By Max Burkhalter
December 23, 2013

When implementing new smart grid solutions, organizations often invest in smart meters and other major improvements to their infrastructure. However, it is just as important to upgrade the rest of the technology that supports these tools, from the terminal server solutions to media converters that support the Ethernet-ready devices attached to the grid.

The Netherlands has set a prime example for the need for secondary system upgrades in its own efforts to deploy smart grid technology. According to Almagest, the nation recently ran into a problem with proper energy storage within its smart grid infrastructure - highlighting the necessity of high-quality battery storage to properly manage power from alternative sources such as solar or wind generators.

Green energy in particular presents interesting use cases when it comes to smart grid solutions. These sources can be fickle, providing not enough power or too much at any given time based on the weather, forcing providers to consider the storage and improved management of these renewable power sources. Investing in improved serial to Ethernet converters and related technology can help support the smart devices needed to control these resources, relaying data back to the provider with minimal latency and supporting demand response and other key aspects of power management.

Smart grid infrastructure isn't just a matter of smart meters and improved cabling. The supporting technology may seem a minor piece of the puzzle, but in reality this hardware can make or break a successful deployment should a firm invest unwisely or ignore these tools altogether. The proper Ethernet I/O support will establish powerful control systems to support the flow of energy, regardless of the strength of the source, and ensure consistency in green power solutions.

Of course, these tools support the larger investments, and organizations have to ensure they are allocating the appropriate funds to all aspects of smart grid deployment. Skimping in any area will hurt the success of such a project, and the appropriate smart meter, media converter and cabling investments will all add up to a high-quality, supported smart grid initiative that can help consumers and suppliers save millions over time, all while helping reduce the environmental impact of electricity usage.

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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