Neoenergia looks to MPLS for smart grid expansion in Brazil

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Brazilian electricity company Neoenergia is modernising its communication networks with MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching).

Neoenergia is to adopt MPLS in the networks of its four distribution concessionaries, Celpe in Pernambuco state, Coelba in Bahia, Cosern in Rio Grande do Norte and Elektro in São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The company considers innovation as key for improving the service quality for its 14 million customers and has selected the solution to ensure reliability and security with the increasing volume of data and to be prepared for the future growth that will come with smart grids.

“The digitalisation of the network and the operation itself motivates the expansion of our own communication network using this technology, which can transport all kinds of services with low latency and high speed,” says Heron Fontana, smart grids superintendent at Neoenergia.

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“The MPLS protocol is the most modern technology in data transport, and it will enable us to prepare our distributors for the management of the energy system under the distribution operator model. It also will allow the integration of distributed generation and electric vehicles.”

MPLS is a high availability, agile protocol with millisecond route switching, which makes it suitable for large data volumes. As such it is used in the networks of the largest telephone operators in Brazil.

Other important benefits for Neoenergia are its versatility and scalability. With MPLS, the infrastructure can be used for applications in operational technology, e.g. for electricity network and substation equipment, in addition to supporting corporate IT applications.

Neoenergia’s MPLS modernisation project is expected to take place over three years and is starting in the northeast. The first stage, which should be completed by the end of 2021, envisages the implementation of the technology at Celpe in the Agreste region of Pernambuco and at Cosern in the metropolitan area of Natal, the capital city of Rio Grande do Norte.

Coelba and Elektro will receive the technology in the next phases.