Sunday, January 22, 2012

Silver Spring Unveils its Gen4 Smart Grid Networking Platform

Silver Spring Networks unveiled its fourth-generation, IPv6-based networking technology for building Smart Grid utility networks.

Silver Spring, whose utility customers already have connection over 10 million homes and businesses using its systems, said its Gen4 technology is focused on improving the flexibility needed to meet utilities’ demanding requirements across disparate service territories, deployment approaches and application needs. The company is aiming to provide a flexible and upgradable network over the 20-year planning horizon expected by municipal utilities.

The Gen4 technology promises “Any Transport, Any Territory, Any Endpoint, Any Application�?. It leverages an integrated cellular option, the industry’s first Micromesh™ technology and triple the performance of previous Smart Grid connectivity. Some highlights:

The Modular Architecture -- a single Communications Module to support a variety of international cellular transports, such as GPRS, CDMA, EVDO, HSPA and LTE, in conjunction with a standards-based, high-speed RF mesh transport. Utilities may choose to deploy modules with cellular, mesh, or both transports.

The Micromesh Architecture -- a Silver Spring cellular Communications Module normally operates as an ordinary point to point cellular connection, supporting meter reading, remote connect/disconnect, and many other applications directly across public carrier networks to the endpoint. However, with the Micromesh technology enabled, the Communications Module additionally connects to nearby grid devices via RF mesh and acts as their take-out point for the WAN. With this innovative combination, utilities can adapt the number of cellular connections they need based on topology, coverage, density, bandwidth requirements, pace of deployment, and many other complex project drivers.

Endpoints -- Gen4 will support the full range of emerging endpoints for the smart grid, including next-gen line sensors, renewables, and load-control switches.

Increased speeds -- Gen4 Communications Modules continue to support communications options for in-home networking as well.
Gen4’s increased data rates, with support up to 300 kbps, enable the Silver Spring platform to support increasingly demanding smart grid applications.

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