Itron is expanding its distribution automation (DA) offering with Cisco’s new IR500 industrial router, which will enable seamless integration with Itron’s OpenWay smart grid solution to deliver plug-and-play distribution automation capabilities.

The IR500 will give utilities the ability to connect both new and legacy DA devices from multiple vendors to enable grid monitoring applications and analytics over OpenWay’s smart grid network. OpenWay includes an advanced IP network that supports multiple smart grid applications and devices over an interoperable, secure, enterprise class network infrastructure. Cisco’s industrial router is expected to be available in the summer of 2014.

Taking advantage of the multi-application functionality of Itron’s smart grid network, the Cisco industrial router provides multiple protocol support over a single network to help utilities improve grid efficiency and reliability. Specifically, the solution delivers connectivity to collect, manage and analyze data from a broad ecosystem of grid sensors and provide device control to support smart grid applications, such as volt/var optimization, outage detection and restoration notification, remote switching and feeder optimization as well as analytic solutions, including transformer load management, power diversion and power quality monitoring.

The router is managed by the same Cisco network management system that manages Itron’s IPv6-enabled smart meters and Cisco’s connected grid routers, providing a “single pane of glass” view of the entire network and endpoints.

“The integration of Cisco’s IR500 with Itron’s OpenWay smart grid solution illustrates the true value of our multiservice, IPv6 smart grid network. The open standards based network lays the foundation for true plug-and-play interoperability,” said Jeff Carkhuff, vice president of global product management for electricity at Itron. “The Cisco router will offer utilities yet another option for bringing DA devices and additional applications on to our multiservice network.”

“As they grow into the future, utilities require adaptable, flexible systems based on accurate information gathered from every part of the grid,” said Guido Jouret, VP/GM internet of Things. “Cisco’s collaboration with Itron offers the ability to cost effectively collect, analyze, and distribute real time data at every level to support electrical generation and distribution.”