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Terminal servers bridge gap to next-generation energy

By Donna Donnawitz
June 17, 2014

The energy sector is facing a revolution in which new technologies are contributing to major changes in how organizations need to operate. To be clear, this talk of revolution isn't marketing hype, it isn't hyperbole, it really is describing an industry that is facing monumental changes to the technologies, operational practices and commercial models that make it work. These changes are so vast that it isn't just an evolution, it is a convergence of a variety of trends leading to a full on sea change in the sector.

As with any revolution, the new industry landscape will hold some vestiges of the past, and organizations that want to support innovation need to be ready to effectively integrate legacy systems with contemporary ones. This is where serial to Ethernet terminal servers become invaluable, as many utility and energy companies need to find ways to interconnect the serial systems commonly used at transformer stations and other locations with contemporary Ethernet solutions.

Looking at the energy revolution
Power delivery patterns are changing on a global scale, with traditional generation plants increasingly being replaced by solar and wind farms as well as natural gas plants and specialized renewable generation sites. This move to new generation methods is creating a need for more flexible grid management tools, which is leading to the implementation of advanced smart grid technologies in a variety of settings.

The smart grid is built around the core principle of using data to improve grid management. This can mean identifying broken power lines, performing predictive analysis, deciding how much energy to store and developing distribution automation frameworks. Organizations can also use smart grid technologies to build microgrids that can partition different parts of the utility setup and make it easier to manage power deliver across the grid as a whole.

All of these capabilities depend on getting information from various places on the grid - transformer stations, end-user locations, generation sites and monitoring devices - back to the energy company's central hub where it can be analyzed and put to use. The network is central in this process.

Getting the network ready for new power delivery methods
Data's central role in supporting the smart grid makes the network an integral part of any strategy to keep pace with changing requirements throughout the industry. Ethernet to serial converter technology is essential in this area because it provides a smooth, cost-efficient interconnect between legacy and contemporary network technologies, making the large-scale upgrade easier to deal with.


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