Interoperable Communication Networks Fuel IIoT for Utilities

2017-10-17 - Itron blog article by Emma Ritch, Global Business Development Manager, ABB Wireless
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) puts the capability of communication networks to the test. Industrial things come from a variety of manufacturers, employ a variety of wired and wireless interfaces and protocols (many of which are proprietary), range from new to very old, and have widely varying degrees of intelligence. Maximum value of the IIoT is derived when the homogenous, IP-based world of IIoT cloud platforms must communicate with the heterogeneous, divergent world of industrial things.

In distribution utilities, the universe of industrial things includes smart meters and other AMI devices, feeder automation components including capacitor bank controllers, recloser controllers and voltage sensors, substation automation devices such as load tap changers and remote terminal units (RTUs), and streetlight control systems. Truly, a wide range of mechanisms that represent what is at stake in the quest for interoperability, and ultimately grid intelligence.

To enable communications and provide value, wireless networks and devices must provide diverse interoperability.  These wireless networks must seamlessly connect to the array of diverse interfaces and protocols supported by industrial things, translating their data into IP traffic on standard physical and logical network interfaces. Standard interfaces can connect to, and IP traffic can be routed over, the Internet to the desired IIoT cloud platforms.

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