ABB Wireless

Monday, May 23, 2016

Utilities: Leaving Leased Lines for Private Wireless Networks

Due to increases in leased line fees and reports that public telcos are discontinuing leased line services, utilities are questioning if leased lines will continue to be a viable communication option. While this is a problem, it is also the catalyst utilities need to take control of their field area data communication systems.

By relying on public telcos, utilities have placed too much dependency on arms-length service providers. This dependency has resulted in no control over the technology lifecycle and no influence over pricing, as both are driven by the telcos’ core consumer and enterprise customer base. Utilities can take control by using private broadband communication networks to replace leased lines and capitalize on the ability to:

  • Control the technology lifecycle: The utility can undertake a one-time project to deploy a modern communication system with a 10-to-15-year lifespan.
  • Reduce O&M costs: The main area of O&M cost savings is the major reduction, if not outright elimination, of the monthly fees paid to a telco for leased line services, fees that are escalating rapidly.
  • Enhance reliability: If the utility needs four or five 9s of system availability, a network capable of delivering that level of availability can be designed and deployed.

Additionally, private wireless networks offer a foundation for capacity and physical growth as new applications are added and service territories are adjusted. Through ownership, the utility can now determine size of coverage areas, bandwidth, availability, security and quality of service (QoS) mechanisms, as well as define which tradeoffs to make between cost and network availability and when to phase out older technologies in favor of new ones.

It is this kind of control that will allow utilities to not only survive through today’s changes, but thrive well into the future as the grid gets smarter and instantaneous data is not only recommended, but mandatory. Are you ready for a modern wireless communications infrastructure?

Monday, May 16, 2016

ABB Named to List of Smart Grid Companies to Watch in 2016

ABB is honored to be chosen by the editors of Smart Grid News, the insider's guide to the digitization of the electric grid, as one of the "Smart Grid Companies to Watch in 2016."  This honor offers further validation that ABB is a proven and trusted solution provider, delivering the bigger picture to utilities needing to deploy successful automated operations that meet the five major electricity requirements of the global society: capacity, reliability, efficiency, security and sustainability. 

Per Smart Grid News, "This year's selections are an interesting mix of security, energy storage, data analytics, the Internet of Things, and even a utility. Regardless of their differences, all share commonality from a strong spirit of innovation to an unwavering commitment to positively impacting the energy industry of the future."

Through our synergies with ABB Enterprise Software, as well as the ABB Smart Grid Center of Excellence, ABB deploys the foundation of the smart grid ­– two-way communications and IT/OT convergence – at the highest levels of performance. By developing interconnected solutions, ABB provides cohesion across the energy planning and operational lifecycle, helping utilities make smarter energy investment decisions, plan operations properly, and efficiently control the grid in real-time.

For our part, within the last year, we enriched our portfolio with several utility-specific product launches: ArcheOS, TropOS 6420, and SuprOS 8.3. ArcheOS is significant technology because it allows utilities to create long-distance, non-line-of-sight communication links to remote substations and other isolated assets – a relevant and necessary offering as more telcos raise leased line prices and discontinue leased line services, forcing utilities to find alternatives. Our launch of the TropOS 6420, an outdoor broadband mesh router designed to enhance physical security applications in electric utility T&D substations, was a timely endeavor given recent high-profile vandalism and sabotage events. In February, we launched SuprOS 8.3, a powerful and innovative communication network management system that manages all of ABB’s wired and wireless technologies from one pane of glass.

To reiterate the sentiment of ABB Vice President of Smart Grids, North America, Gary Rackliffe, this recognition means a great deal to ABB – a strong infrastructure will ensure future success! We couldn’t agree more. We’re pleased to share this exciting news with all of you.

For additional information, visit the ABB Smart Grid portal at: http://new.abb.com/smartgrids