ABB Wireless

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Private or Public Networks for Smart Grids and Smart Cities?

Recently, there have been heated debates on the merits (and demerits) of private and public networks in smart grids. Here at Tropos, we believe that it doesn’t have to be strictly one or the other, and that public networks have a role to play in augmenting private networks. Narasimha Chari, co-founder and CTO of Tropos Networks, wrote an article which was published on Earth2Tech on August 22 detailing this analysis and rationale. Read it here -- let us know what you think!

Essentially, there are 7 key factors for utilities and cities to consider when building their communications network: Availability, survivability, coverage, latency, security, life cycle and control. What we did was a comparative analysis of private and public networks measuring them against each factor, and citing other research as well as real life examples. In the end, we came to the conclusion that although utilities mostly prefer building their own private networks, there will still be a role for public networks to play. Our sentiment is echosed by a report from Pike Research, which stated that "Generally, grid applications with strict performance requirements, high reliability requirements, or high cost sensitivity tend toward utility-owned (private) and operated infrastructure. Other applications, such as AMI backhaul applications, will often use public infrastructure."