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Infinity Smart Grid Solutions

Automation in Distribution for Power Utilities

To take full advantage of modern smart grid technologies, power utilities need to automate distribution in medium and low voltage grids, and integrate the distribution of renewable generation and storage. 

By embracing automation in power distribution, power utilities improve the reliability of electricity, boost efficiency and safety, and enhance the performance of their grid.

The problem? 

The multiple, disconnected, and application-specific field area networks (FANs) that connect endpoints on today’s power grid do not allow for automated distribution of power.

Infinity Technology Solutions delivers a private LTE and IP/MPLS network that gives power utilities the convergence, capacity, resilience, and quality of service (QoS) they need for the automation of distribution and integration of renewables.

What is an Intelligent Electronic Device?

Intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) are microprocessor controllers of traditional power industry equipment such as capacitors, circuit breakers and transformers. IEDs receive data from sensors in equipment and have the ability to issue command controls.

As power utilities embrace smart grid technologies, they are utilizing IEDs and applications that monitor, control, and automate functions more and more. IEDs gather, analyze, and communicate power line data like frequency and voltage.

They can also deliver command signals that make real-time decisions in load, generation, and failure without the need of a human operator. Communications can be sent to devices at nearby sites and to central operations. 

In order to support the various communication requirements of numerous IED systems operating simultaneously, utilities often have multiple FANs. Each FAN for different applications requires its own maintenance and support. 

This situation has left utilities with multiple FANs, producing considerably higher operational and maintenance costs. It also hinders centralized control and coordination between all the applications in your grid.

With the increasing number and sophistication of IEDs, power utilities are blocked by FAN segregation from introducing new and more efficient mission-critical applications such as distributed generation (DG) integration, automatic fault isolation and reclosing, and inverter control.

Multiple Field Area Networks have many limitations:

  • Many are becoming obsolete (analog phone lines, DS0 leased circuits)
  • Those based on wireless broadband mesh technologies cannot be used for distribution automation
  • Some FANs do not offer path redundancy (wireless P2MP) for applications that need more reliable communications
  • Wireless point-to-multipoint (P2MP) requires line of sight, which prevents power utilities from adding more and newer IEDs

Private LTE Converged FAN

Network infrastructure constructed by Infinity Technology Solutions on IP/MPLS and LTE wireless broadband enable the creation of FANs that support intelligent distribution automation. 

With virtual private network (VPN) capability, IP/MPLS allows power utilities to construct an agile, service-oriented network for each individual application. 

Most importantly, IP/MPLS virtual networks can be integrated into a single network architecture that offers stellar QoS for all critical applications, such as your utility’s SCADA system, land mobile radio (LMR) network, private mobile radio (PMR) backhaul, and video surveillance system.

In turn, LTE wireless broadband works in tandem with IP/MPLS-enabled VPNs to provide greater bandwidth, higher speeds, and low latency. LTE networks are ideal for the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) for expanded range and connectivity necessary for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, IoT distribution automation functionality, and Mobile Edge Computing.

With a private LTE network designed, installed, and maintained from Infinity Technology Solutions, your power utility will enjoy flexible channel sizes for applications with various bandwidth requirements. Additionally, with LTE wireless broadband, you can determine the particular QoS level for each individual application, enable operations that do not require line-of-sight, and claim the ability to easily move and add field devices.

When you choose Infinity as your contractor for your industrial-grade private LTE wireless broadband network, your power utility has Nokia’s entire catalog of solutions for intelligent distribution automation and renewables integration. 

This includes:

  • Nokia’s entire portfolio of IP/MPLS routers, wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), and microwave radios for backhaul
  • A common communications management system for the radio access network (RAN), backhaul and core, and lifecycle management of devices
  • Security for multi-vendor and multi-technology IT and OT

The Benefits of Infinity’s LTE and IP/MPLS Solutions

With a converged FAN built on LTE and IP/MPLS, power utilities realize a scalable broadband network that offers secure and reliable coverage for all your grid applications. 

Infinity Technology Solutions enables your power utility to extend the reach of your existing IP/MPLS wide area network (WAN) over our private LTE network, addressing all your distribution automation and renewables integration needs. With Infinity’s expertise, you can simplify and streamline your operations to all the critical devices and sites from the center to the edge of your grid. 

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