Image: Neoenergia

Brazilian energy distributor Neoenergia has developed the Multilink data concentrator for deployment in the smart grid.

The Multilink concentrator is based on the open Wi-SUN wireless communication standard to provide an interoperable solution for deployment in the field with equipment from different manufacturers.

The concentrator is a key communications component in the smart grid, serving as the data connection between end-point devices such as smart meters and smart grid sensors and the utility data and operations centres.

The Multilink collects data through a gateway, which was developed in the project.

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To transmit data to the distributor’s systems, the Multilink offers multiple communication channels, including 4G/LTE cellular, WiMAX, satellite and 2.4GHz digital radio with OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) modulation.

The Multilink also has expansion ports for connection with other means of communication both existing and that which may appear in the future.

“Neoenergia is a pioneer in the development of this technology, which contributes to our digitalisation strategy for customers using open and interoperable standards,” says José Luiz de França Neto, manager of srategic technology projects.

“The result is optimised investments in metering and automation infrastructure, which will enable improvements in the quality of supply and the management of consumption by customers.”

Smart grid R&D

The concentrator was developed over three years under the regulatory agency Aneel’s research and development programme on smart grid technologies for the local market. Partners included Brazilian communications solutions provider Tecsys and the research institute Lactec, both of which are members of the Wi-SUN Alliance.

The solution was piloted in the northeastern coastal city of Salvador, which falls within Neoenergia subsidiary Coelba’s distribution area.

In related work Neoenergia is contributing to the development of a proposal for a Brazilian DLMS protocol to further promote interoperability in smart metering, according to a company statement.

Neoenergia, part of the Iberdrola group, is the largest Brazilian energy distributor and one of the largest in Latin America in terms of customers. The company operates in 18 states and manages 13.9 million supply points in a concession area covering 840,000km2.