Hydro One to trial WiMAX solution for grid modernization


Rick Stevens,
Director, Development
Strategy, Hydro
One Networks
Markham, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — April 17, 2009 – Ontario’s largest electricity delivery company Hydro One has entered into an agreement with WiMAX and broadband wireless infrastructure product provider Redline Communications Group Inc. to trial Redline’s RedMAX 4C WiMAX solutions to enable communications to smart meters and other advanced electricity distribution technologies.

In keeping with the direction of the Province of Ontario, Hydro One Networks and Hydro One Brampton are working to install smart meters in the homes and small businesses of their combined 1.3 million customers by 2010. To date, the company has installed almost 900,000 meters.

The RedMAX WiMAX solution is designed to enable remote meter reading as well as outage monitoring and will ultimately help operationalize a number of additional applications, including power distribution automation, power station/security monitoring, smart home applications, and remote work dispatch for field staff, increasing customer service and providing opportunity to reduce Hydro One’s operational and maintenance costs.

With real-time load information from customer smart meters, Hydro One will also be better able to optimize the electrical system and plan for future capacity.

Redline and Hydro One have completed testing of the RedMAX 4C WiMAX solutions for the enablement of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in rural areas of the province near Barrie, Ontario.

“Hydro One’s smart meters and our plans for the smart grid will allow us to support and drive consumer choices about electricity and contribute to a culture of conservation in Ontario,” said Rick Stevens, director, development strategy at Hydro One Networks. “Incorporating the 802.16e WiMAX technologies to our network will allow us to enable a number of applications for other business processes and transformations that will provide additional benefits to our customers.”

The broadband wireless network connecting the Hydro One smart meters is the first phase of the project consisting of a series of Redline WiMAX base stations that connect wirelessly to outdoor customer premise equipment (CPE). Data generated by the smart meters are backhauled over the network to Hydro One’s Operations Center.
“The demand for WiMAX technologies goes well beyond that of major telecommunications carriers,” said Kevin Suitor, vice president of marketing, Redline Communications Inc. “With the advances we have made in our RedMAX products, we can provide the bandwidth, reliability and price points required for deployment in a range of vertical applications including smart metering and video surveillance.”

Operating in the 1.8 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum bands, the RedMAX 4C includes a modular, standardized (micro) TCA (micro Telecommunications Computing Architecture) chassis base station that is small, lightweight and easy to deploy, as well as a selection of customer premise equipment.