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Critical WAN for Utilities

Smart grid innovations will allow power utilities across the globe to operate large electric systems more efficiently, while also empowering decarbonization efforts. Automation at substations and automated distribution will fundamentally alter the delivery of electricity to customers.

But smart grids will require smarter communications. In order to support smart grid’s critical applications, power utilities will need converged, mission-critical wide area networks (WANs) with IP/MPLS. Packet microwave and packet optical networking technologies will offer power utilities the flexibility, security, and scalability they need to operate modern smart grids effectively. 

Smart WAN for Intelligent Electric Grids

IP-based devices and applications provide utilities with smart grid infrastructure a steady stream of critical information for automating key functions and more precise operational efficiencies. With access to better information, electric utilities will reduce costs, shorten response times to power outages, increase safety, and improve power quality.

Smart grid technologies will also help transmission and distribution grids better integrate renewables in the future.

But to fully harness these efficiencies, smart grids will need equally smart WANs. For every new application, smart grids increase the number of devices that must be monitored and managed.  

The legacy communications networks that now support power grids were not designed to handle all these new applications and devices. Yesterday’s communication infrastructure simply doesn’t offer the capacity, performance, and QoS necessary for the IP-based communications that modern smart grids require. 

Previously, utility operators constructed independent communications networks that would convey data for a particular grid function, such as SCADA systems, teleprotection, or staff communications.

These makeshift and patch systems were engineered with Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) technologies (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy [SDH] and Synchronous Optical Network [SONET]), configured with pre-defined bandwidths and QoS parameters.

This has produced a situation where utilities now have numerous networks lacking interoperability. Legacy networks are not equipped to support the data that is being transmitted from newer IP-based systems and devices (e.g. SCADA, IEDs, synchrophaser, and video surveillance systems).

Additionally, legacy networks cobbled together to support separate functions cannot easily distinguish between mission-critical and low-priority traffic. Adding yet another wrinkle, the TDM-based legacy equipment that utility operators have relied on is reaching the end of its life cycle and needs to be replaced. 

Given that carrier-based TDM and frame relay services are being discontinued, with more bandwidth coming  at a greatly inflated price point, utilities demand a solution that will both support their existing systems, applications, and devices, while extending communication capabilities to more sites.

Utilities should look to solve their immediate network communication problem, but they should also anticipate the future of smart grid technology: an automated grid with applications and devices powered by IoT. 

Converged Critical WAN for Electric Utilities

A converged, mission-critical WAN built on IP/MPLS provides the key to the modern smart grid’s communication requirements. Packet microwave and packet optical networking technologies offer a flexible, secure, scalable, and always-on IP network. Such a network will not only support utilities’ legacy communications infrastructure, but all the applications and devices that will make for a smarter grid in the future.

The virtual private network (VPN) capabilities of IP/MPLS gives utilities the ability to build service-area networks with high levels of security and privacy. These VPNs are part of a converged infrastructure with the QoS to transport a high volume and variety of data. Furthermore, IP/MPLS is compatible with packet microwave and WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) optical transport.

The benefits of optical transport is that it can carry both operational and enterprise traffic on the same network infrastructure. With its high-bandwidth connections, your utility can easily connect remote systems, data centers, and your corporate offices across the same network.

Optical networking also offers advanced data protection through optical intrusion detection and low-latency encryption. This technology provides comprehensive security management for multi-vendor and multi-technology on a single pane of glass.

As a preferred partner of Nokia, Infinity Technology Solutions brings decades of expertise and experience in collaborating with our partners in the utility industry. Our communication infrastructure solutions have assisted utilities across the country to ramp up smart grid applications and devices to enhance operational efficiencies and security, reduce expenses, and improve the reliability of their grids. 

Nokia’s converged, critical WAN solution enables power utilities to run a service-aware network with per-service operations, sophisticated administration and maintenance (OAM), and performance monitoring. With its industry-leading features, including high-availability, non-stop routing and service, and asymmetrical delay control, Nokia’s mission-critical WAN for utilities will power the communications of your smart grid from now into the future.

From feasibility studies, to the design and engineering, installation, and maintenance of your Nokia WAN solution, Infinity Technology Solutions takes a comprehensive and structured approach to ensuring your utility’s smart grid operates with maximum efficiency and ease.

The Benefits of WAN from Infinity Technology Solutions

Infinity Technology Solutions will ensure that your utility is equipped with a high-capacity, high-performance, critical WAN built on IP/MPLS, packet microwave, and packet optical networking technologies. Among our other solutions for networking infrastructure in the utilities are Field Area Networks (FAN) on private LTE.

By providing smart grid automation, control, and management in anticipation of a decarbonized future, Infinity is embracing the next wave in smart grid technologies. 

At the same time, we are committed to a communications infrastructure solution that works for you now, enabling you to dispense with your patchwork legacy network architecture that slows operation and performance. 

Respond more timely and effectively to power outages, save in operational costs, and run a more efficient power grid with the help of the engineers, designers, and support staff at Infinity.

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