Satellite communications in smart meter backhaul

Herndon, Va.—VT iDirect Inc. (iDirect), a company of VT Systems Inc. (VT Systems), and Pike Research, a market research and consulting team that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets, has announced the release of a new white paper on the role of satellite communications for smart meter backhaul in the utility industry. The report examines the growth of smart meter backhaul communications and how satellite has evolved to meet the challenges of this important segment of the emerging smart grid. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

In the white paper, Bob Gohn, Chief Research Director, highlights multiple areas where IP-based satellite technology offers strong differentiation including: geographic reach, performance, reliability, and security. Additionally, the paper discusses how satellite has become more cost-effective with recent technology innovations that optimize the use of bandwidth and provide higher speed connectivity to meet the growing data demands of the energy and utility market.

Among the key items highlighted in the Pike Research paper were the following:
•    Pike Research estimates that over 50 million smart meters will be deployed in North America by the end of 2012, with as many as four times this number installed across the rest of the world. By 2020, smart meters are expected to make up nearly 70 percent of North American electricity meters.
•    Satellite's geographic reach makes it suitable choice for AMI backhaul and Distribution Automation (DA) deployments, which represent the most ubiquitous smart grid applications across a utility's service territory.
•    With a roundtrip latency of 600 milliseconds, satellite connectivity offers a viable solution for the majority of AMI and DA applications and compares favorably with mesh technologies used within the smart grid.
•    Newer satellite technologies such as the Digital Video Broadcasting Standard (DVB-S2), adaptive coding and modulation (ACM), and advanced forward error correction schemes enable highly reliable communications in all kinds of weather.
•    Private satellite networks offer robust security benefits, including advanced encryption and authentication, alleviating concerns often associated with public cellular networks.

For more information about iDirect and Pike Research or other smart meter backhaul information, click  here to go to Utility Products' Buyers Guide.



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