Advanced Metering Infrastructure ( AMI )
Smart Grids require ‘smart meters’ to help consumers manage their energy consumption. These devices are a key element of AMI and typically sit within wireless mesh grids, collecting usage data from consumers in a limited geographical area, transmitting it back to the utility’s data center – usually via a fixed link or cellular network. However, cellular networks are not always ideal for data backhaul for several reasons, including limited range, restricted bandwidth, a tendency to congestion, and vulnerability to natural and other disasters. There are also many geographic areas where cellular coverage does not reach, and maybe never will. BGAN offers a high-quality, low-cost alternative to backhaul usage data from wireless collector points for AMI deployments. BGAN provides ubiquitous, global coverage, and – as it is a secure network and does not traverse the internet or other public networks – is not susceptible to public usage. Furthermore, its advanced antenna design allows for easier installation to accommodate mounting on pole tops, as well as retaining a connection to the network even when its direction has shifted slightly due to wind or seismic activity.
Privacy, scalability, flexible bandwidth, ease of deployment and reach are all significant benefits that Galaxy 1 provides as a comprehensive end-to-end AMI solution – as well as being a fill-in for the dark spots of a cellular network solution. Bgan is a secure, high-quality and affordable alternative to cellular and other terrestrial links for AMI backhaul. BGAN services are being used by a number of flagship US and Canadian electric utility to achieve 100% AMI coverage, extending its network to areas that cannot be connected through existing terrestrial technologies. This solution uses a Hughes 9201-M2M BGAN terminal to connect an AMI collection point to the utility’s data center via the Inmarsat satellite network. Each collection point is linked to multiple smart meters via a local radio network. The BGAN solution provides real-time, anytime access to meter data, while lowering the cost of collection in the previously unconnected areas.