In Japan, global metering solutions company Sensus expects its long range radio base stations to be live by March 2015 as part of a trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of the FlexNet connectivity spectrum for smart metering applications.
Sensus is in the process of shipping base stations to Tokyo where they will be installed in the Tokyo Bay area, which has a high density of multi-dwelling buildings, Andy Slater, director of marketing at Sensus, told Metering.com at World Smart Energy Week, taking place in the Japanese capital today.
The long range RF trial using FlexNet communications system was commissioned by the technical committee of government regulator Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).
Sensus hopes the study will persuade the government to use 280MHz for smart metering and smart grid applications, said Mr Slater.
He said: "We're looking to establish a propagation model that will allow the MIC to make a decision on the use of the spectrum and power levels. And then we can all hopefully move forward to a commercial proposition."
Dedicated channel for smart metering
Slater said the solution " will give utilities a dedicated channel to work in, whereas at 920MHz it is all shared.
"Our belief, and some Japanese utilites have the same belief, is that the 920MHz, being a high spectrum with the ultra high density properties you can have here in the Tokyo, will quickly become a noisy radio environment. Metering won't work at those low levels."
Sensus is partnering with Japanese communications engineering company MIRAIT Technologies for the trial.
Results will be shared with a range of groups, including utility companies, commercial organizations, potential partners, local government and regulators.
Long range RF technology
Sensus is known for using long range radio technology in its meters with the launch of a new residential meter in August 2014 fitted with the communication mode.
The iConA Generation 4 allows utilities to turn off and on all radio frequency transmissions remotely.
The company says by deploying long range radio technology, the FlexNet communication system acts as a two-way communications highway for investor-owned utilities, municipalities and electric cooperatives.
The company is also providing the core communications technology to support the UK's mandated smart electric and gas meter rollout.