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Smart Metering WAN Communications – Definition of Options

Author(s)

Simon Harrison

Document Status

Draft

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WCOD

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Table of Contents Table of Contents............................................................................................. 2 Figures ............................................................................................................. 2 Document Control ............................................................................................ 4 1.1 Version History .................................................................................. 4 1.2 Related Documents ........................................................................... 4 1.3 Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright......................................... 4 1.4 Disclaimer.......................................................................................... 4 2 Executive Summary and Introduction ....................................................... 5 2.1 Executive Summary........................................................................... 5 2.2 Purpose ............................................................................................. 5 2.3 Scope ................................................................................................ 5 2.4 Objective............................................................................................ 7 3 Glossary & Conventions ........................................................................... 8 3.1 Document Conventions & Assumptions............................................. 8 3.1.1 Conventions for Diagrams .......................................................... 8 3.1.2 Market Segments ....................................................................... 8 3.1.3 Meter Functionality ..................................................................... 8 3.1.4 Meter Location............................................................................ 9 3.1.5 Meter and Metering System........................................................ 9 3.1.6 Communications for Each Fuel................................................. 11 3.1.7 Two Types of Communication for Smart Metering?.................. 11 3.2 Glossary .......................................................................................... 12 4 Assumptions and Issues ......................................................................... 15 4.1 Assumptions .................................................................................... 15 4.2 Issues .............................................................................................. 15 4.2.1 Variety of Premises Types........................................................ 15 4.2.2 Longevity .................................................................................. 16 5 Solution Options ..................................................................................... 17 5.1 Wired Solution Options .................................................................... 18 5.1.1 Power Line Carrier.................................................................... 18 5.1.2 Fixed Line ................................................................................. 27 5.2 Wireless Solution Options................................................................ 33 5.2.1 Cellular Communications.......................................................... 33 5.2.2 Low Power Radio ..................................................................... 39 5.2.3 Long Range Radio.................................................................... 43 5.3 Other Options .................................................................................. 49 5.4 Emerging Wired/Wireless Options ................................................... 49 5.4.1 Femtocells ................................................................................ 49 5.4.2 Active Line Access ................................................................... 50 6 Considerations........................................................................................ 51 6.1 Combinations of Physical Media...................................................... 51 6.2 Co-existence of Communications Infrastructures ............................ 52 Appendix: Other Information .......................................................................... 53 Deleted:

Figures

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Figure 1: Smart Metering Scope ...................................................................... 6 Figure 2 Scope of BERR WAN Products ......................................................... 6 Figure 3: Smart Meter Locations ...................................................................... 9 Page 2 of 53

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Figure 4: Smart Metering Systems, Illustration of Flexible Approaches ......... 10 Figure 5 WAN Connections for Both Fuels .................................................... 11 Figure 6 Three Smart Metering Interfaces ..................................................... 12 Figure 7 Wired and Wireless Options............................................................. 17 Figure 8 Power Line Carrier ........................................................................... 19 Figure 9 PLC Retrofit Module......................................................................... 23 Figure 10 PLC Substation Equipment ............................................................ 23 Figure 11 PLC Substation Equipment 2 ......................................................... 24 Figure 12 Echelon PLC Transceiver Chips .................................................... 24 Figure 13 Echelon NES PLC Data Concentrator............................................ 25 Figure 14 Echelon PLC Infrastructure Options............................................... 25 Figure 15 PLC Repeater Unit......................................................................... 26 Figure 16 Retrofit PLC unit............................................................................. 26 Figure 17 High Speed PLC Chip .................................................................... 27 Figure 18 Fixed Line Infrastructure ................................................................ 27 Figure 19 Elster PSTN Modem ...................................................................... 29 Figure 20 Elster Modem in situ ...................................................................... 29 Figure 21 Landis + Gyr PSTN Modem Component........................................ 30 Figure 22 Enermet PSTN Modem .................................................................. 30 Figure 23 Cable Metering Solution................................................................. 33 Figure 24 Cellular Infrastructure..................................................................... 34 Figure 25 Elster GSM Modem (with Internal Antenna)................................... 36 Figure 26 GSM Modem Connected to Electricity Meter ................................. 37 Figure 27 Ericsson Options for Future SIM Cards.......................................... 38 Figure 28 Telenor UICC with Embedded WLAN ............................................ 38 Figure 29 Telecnor WLANSIM AMR Slide ..................................................... 39 Figure 30 Low Power Radio Infrastructure Examples .................................... 40 Figure 31 ZigBee 7mm x 7mm Chip............................................................... 42 Figure 32 Zensys Z-Wave Chip ..................................................................... 42 Figure 33 Bluetooth Chip ............................................................................... 42 Figure 34 Trilliant Gas Module ....................................................................... 43 Figure 35 Trilliant Gas Module in situ............................................................. 43 Figure 36 Low Power Mesh Infrastructure ..................................................... 43 Figure 37 Long Range Radio Infrastructure ................................................... 44 Figure 38 Arqiva Component Prototype ......................................................... 45 Figure 39 FlexNet Architecture ...................................................................... 45 Figure 40 Sensus FlexNet Meter ................................................................... 46 Figure 41 Tropos Wi-Fi Infrastructure ............................................................ 48 Figure 42 Smart Synch Wi-Fi Meter ............................................................... 48 Figure 43 Carina Wi-Fi Metering .................................................................... 49 Figure 44 Illustration of Femtocell Communications ...................................... 50 Figure 45 Combinations of Physical Media .................................................... 51 Figure 46 Tantalus Infrastructure ................................................................... 52

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Document Control 1.1 Version History Version

Date

Author

Description

0_1

14 July 2008

Simon Harrison

Initial draft

0_2

29 July 2008

Simon Harrison

Updated following BERR WAN Communications Workshop – 22nd July 2008

Formatted: Superscript

1.2 Related Documents Document Title

Version

Author

Date

Smart Metering Operational Framework, proposals and options

V1

ERA SRSM Project

August 2007

WAN Communications Requirements Definition

V1

ERA SRSM Project for BERR

July 2008

1.3 Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright All rights including copyright in this document or the information contained in it are owned by the Energy Retail Association and its members. All copyright and other notices contained in the original material must be retained on any copy that you make. All other use is prohibited. All other rights of the Energy Retail Association and its members are reserved.

1.4 Disclaimer This document presents definitions of options for WAN communications for smart metering in Great Britain. It does not represent all possible solutions options. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy of the contents of the document but offer no warranties (express or implied) in respect of its accuracy or that the proposals or options will work. To the extent permitted by law, the Energy Retail Association and its members do not accept liability for any loss which may arise from reliance upon information contained in this document. This document is presented for information purposes only and none of the information, proposals and options presented herein constitutes an offer.

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Executive Summary and Introduction

2.1 Executive Summary This document is a product of the Wide Area Network (WAN) Communications workstream, part of the wider project undertaken by BERR to consider smart metering. It presents definitions and illustrations of communications options to provide a link between gas and electricity smart meters and remote parties. It is intended to facilitate ongoing smart metering discussions, and does so by providing a clear explanation of each option within a smart metering context. No account is taken of industry market design for processes, governance or commercial relationships. [Please note that the initial delivery of this document is not intended to represent a final and complete report. It requires revisions and updates from communications experts as part of a process to develop and document common understanding of the WAN Communications options for smart metering]. The requirements for smart metering WAN Communications, and assessment of the options defined here will be addressed in other documents.

2.2 Purpose This document presents descriptions of communications solutions options for smart metering in Britain. It is intended to deliver a simple overview of the range of communications options available to bring all stakeholders to a common level of understanding (and agreement) of the options. By establishing and clearly defining each of the options, this document should provide a solid foundation for subsequent discussions that refer communications options, for instance market model discussions. It does not present any assessment of the options.

2.3 Scope The scope of this document is limited to the requirement for two way communications between smart gas and electricity meters and authorised parties. It considers communications technology and options available to be used today, as these are practical for deployment in line with the timescales envisaged for smart metering. It briefly discusses key emerging technology options. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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The diagram below shows the SRSM view of the scope of smart metering, and the place of WAN Communications within that scope:

Industry Interfaces

Data Transport (internet)

Figure 1: Smart Metering Scope1

This document does not address the ‘upstream’ communications options, as these, to a large extent, will be dependant upon the market model approaches. Therefore it considers only how smart metering data moves between the meters and the ‘cloud’, as shown below. Note that the WAN requirements necessarily cover a wider scope than the options in this document. Formatted: Keep with next

Industry Interfaces

Data Transport

Figure 2 Scope of BERR WAN Products

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1

‘Data Transport’ and ‘Data Gateway Function’ are defined in the Glossary in section 3.2 below

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This document will not be a detailed comparative assessment of communications options and it will not make recommendations against the options. WAN Communications Options for smart metering are likely to flex over time as technology and commercial arrangements adapt to what is essentially a new GB market for metering communications. This document does not consider the commercial or contracting arrangements or implications for the provision of smart metering communications services. BERR has stated that the selection of communications for smart metering will be a responsibility of the market in whatever guise that takes.

2.4 Objective The objectives of the WAN Communications workstream as part of the wider BERR activities have been agreed as follows: The objective of the WAN Communications workstream of work is to deliver a better understanding of the WAN Communications options and their potential impact on market models to feed into Phase 2 evaluation of market models. A better description of the communications options and their requirements will enable the impact on market models for each option to be better understood, e.g. constraints, drivers, issues, risks. What are the practical implications of operating different communications options within the different market models? This is a question that can be started in Phase 1, but will have to be answered in more detail in Phase 2. The output from this workstream will feed into the market model evaluation planned for Phase 2. A key objective of this workstream is to bring all stakeholders to a common level of understanding.

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Glossary & Conventions

3.1 Document Conventions & Assumptions The ERA SRSM project has been running since September 2006, and has established a number of practical conventions and assumptions with regard to smart metering. The project published Proposals and Options for a Smart Metering Operational Framework in August 2007 – this document is over 300 pages in length and presents comprehensive proposals to meet the practicalities of operating smart metering in a competitive retail environment. The following subsections give a brief overview of a number of these topics. For a more complete summary of the Smart Metering Operational Framework, please visit http://www.energy-retail.org.uk/smartmeters Throughout this document materials from specific service providers or existing implementations are used. This is to illustrate the concepts or context under consideration, and in no way advocates these approaches and products as preferred solutions or applications. The use of such illustrations is simply to meet a key objective of establishing a common understanding of the options to support further discussion.

3.1.1 Conventions for Diagrams Alongside the conventions listed below, the following standard approaches have been used within diagrams. • Wired physical connections are shown using a solid line • Wireless physical connections are shown using a dotted line All diagrams within this document are illustrative of the subject under consideration and are not intended to represent technical, architectural or schematic depictions of actual situations.

3.1.2 Market Segments The Operational Framework has been written to address the requirements of energy Suppliers in the domestic retail markets. However, it recognises that meters used in homes can actually be exactly the same as meters used in businesses, and therefore the Operational Framework proposals could apply. Therefore, within this document, the communications options discussed could be suitable for use in both domestic and equivalent non-domestic markets.

3.1.3 Meter Functionality The degree of ‘smartness’ of a smart meter is something that distinguishes most of the metering products available today, or that are being installed as part of smart metering projects overseas. The SRSM project has agreed, and discussed with meter manufacturers and the wider energy stakeholders, a set of functional requirements for gas and 30-Jul-08 Page 8 of 53

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electricity smart meters. These requirements do not represent final proposals and are presented here to give context to the WAN Communications discussions. • • • • • • • • •

2 Way Communications – WAN and Local (see below) Interval measurement and storage of consumption data Support for flexible and configurable energy tariffs Interoperable data exchange and protocols Remote connection/disconnection2 Support for prepayment/pay as you go operation (subject to the footnote above) Support for microgeneration Provision of consumption information Remote configuration of tariffs, meter operations, upgradeable firmware etc.

3.1.4 Meter Location Throughout, this document refers mainly to the ‘Home’ and uses illustrations of houses to represent locations for meter points. However, smart meters and the communications solution options listed here could apply equally to other domestic and non-domestic premises types.

Figure 3: Smart Meter Locations

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The ERA Smart Metering Operational Framework documentation specifies ‘domestic-sized’ metering, and such meters could be installed in any type of property where energy consumption is within the load/capacity capability of such meters. The Operational Framework includes a number of Meter Variants, usually to accommodate specific energy supply requirements of a metering point – e.g. polyphase electricity supply or a semi concealed gas meter location (see definition of Meter Variant below). It is also the case that the placement and location of meters as shown in diagrams is illustrative.

3.1.5 Meter and Metering System Throughout this document, references to a smart meter, particularly within diagrams, should not be interpreted as referring only to smart meters where all

2

For electricity, the inclusion of a switch/breaker/contactor has been agreed for all meters. The inclusion of similar, valve-based functionality for all gas meters remains subject to cost.

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of the functionality is contained within one ‘box’. There is regular use of a picture of an electricity smart meter to represent smart Metering Systems. Smart Metering Systems – Illustration of Flexible Approaches

+

+

+

Software

+

+

Smart Metering Metering System Metering System Systems, with all using a separate using a separate the functionality, ‘black box’ and ‘black box’ (or including external antenna boxes) to deliver communications to deliver functionality “under the glass” functionality

Illustration of how fuels could share (with suitable commercial arrangements) a single set of black box(es) to deliver functionality

In all cases, the metrology functions must be delivered by a regulated measuring instrument. The required functionality could be delivered by components: - within the meter casing; - through the use of one or more new hardware components (in conjunction with new meters or retrofitted to existing); or - external hardware components shared between fuels. Generally, no component of the smart Metering System will be reliant upon equipment owned by the customer (e.g. broadband router), or services under the control of the customer (e.g. telephony provider). There may be individual circumstances where use of the customers equipment is unavoidable (customer chooses to own the meter, or particularly within a non-domestic context where additional energy supply contractual terms can be applied).

Figure 4: Smart Metering Systems, Illustration of Flexible Approaches

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As defined below, a smart metering system could comprise a number of physical devices (external modems, antennas etc.) to deliver the smart functionality requirements. The potential variety of physical locations and conditions of metering points could result in smart metering systems where components are not located together in the same metering cupboard, or on the same metering board. It would not be practical to illustrate or explain these potential variations within this document. Therefore all general references to smart meters and uses of icons to represent smart meters in this document should be inferred as meaning the defined Metering System. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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3.1.6 Communications for Each Fuel There are a number of potential approaches to delivering WAN infrastructures to both gas and electricity metering. As discussed above, this may involve additional communications equipment. Shown below are the two basic approaches – autonomy and the ‘piggy-back’, both of which are equally valid when considering WAN communications options. Some of the options presented naturally favour one or other of these approaches, some can be agnostic. The ‘piggy-back’ approach presents advantages to key concerns with gas meter power consumption, but creates interoperability, data storage and network operation challenges for electricity meters. In the ‘piggy-back’ option, the electricity meter is effectively part of the gas metering system.

Figure 5 WAN Connections for Both Fuels

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3.1.7 Two Types of Communication for Smart Metering? This document specifically addresses the options for WAN communications, i.e. from the meter to a remote party. There are requirements and expectations of smart meters to deliver communications functionality locally, i.e. from the meter to a home display, or microgeneration device, or a meter from a different utility.

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WAN COMMUNICATIONS INTERFACE

Data Transport (internet)

WAN COMMUNICATIONS INTERFACE

LOCAL COMMUNICATIONS INTERFACE

Figure 6 Three Smart Metering Interfaces

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Some WAN Communications options – Power Line Carrier, Low Power Radio, are candidates for the physical medium to deliver Local Communications. Other WAN options – Cellular, Broadband – have been discounted for Local Communications either on the basis of initial or ongoing cost, power consumption and other practicalities. The ERA SRSM Project has been facilitating a workstream to specifically consider the options for Local Communications for Smart Metering. This workstream includes experts from metering and communications organisations and is expected to deliver an evaluation and recommendation report in September 2008. Details on this workstream are available from http://www.srsmlocalcomms.wetpaint.com Whilst it may seem to be the optimum approach to have one communicating component within a smart meter, for example WAN and Local Communications are delivered using low power radio hardware within the meter, unless the solution option meets all of the requirements for both applications, there may be an argument for including two communicating components. This has been the approach in some international examples requiring Local Communications connectivity. However, these examples have tended to see the Local element added after the WAN specification has been set.

3.2 Glossary A number of these definitions are similar to those used within the Operational Framework. Term

Meaning

Access Control

The method by which the Operational Framework controls access to smart Metering Systems, smart metering data and Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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Term

Meaning associated devices.

Authorised Party

Means the Supplier or another person authorised by configuration of the Access Control security policies in the Metering System to interrogate or configure the Metering System. Authorised Parties could include a communications service provider, a meter operator, a network operator etc.

Data Exchange

Electronic interactions including the transmission of data between Metering Systems and Authorised Parties or Metering Systems and Local Devices

Data Gateway Function

As referenced by Figures 1 & 2

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A system (or service) responsible for managing smart metering data traffic between the Data Transport and enterprise applications. Activities are expected to include scheduling of Data Exchanges, consolidation/splitting of messages and potentially translation services. The Data Gateway Function could form part of an integrated application, or could be a separate system. Clearer definition of the market models will assist with determining the nature and number of Data Gateways.

Data Transport

How Data Exchanges are communicated between the physical communications option and the Data Gateway Function. An example of a Data Transport would be the internet.

DLMS

Device Language Message Specification – European data protocol for meter communications

ERA

Energy Retail Association, the trade association representing the six major energy Suppliers in Britain.

ETSI

European Telecommunications Standards Institute – international standards body

IEEE

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – international standards body

Interoperability

To allow a smart Metering System to be used within market rules by the registered Supplier, its nominated agents and parties selected by the customer without necessitating a change of Metering System. Security of the smart Metering System infrastructure, with structured Access Control, is a key interoperability requirement.

Local Communications

Communications between a Metering System and Local Devices within the premises in which the Metering System is installed.

Local Device

A Local Device can be any piece of equipment within premises that communicates directly with the Metering System using Local Communications.

Metering System

A single device or meter, or a combination of devices used to deliver the Lowest Common Denominator as defined in the Operational Framework - ‘Smart Meter Functional Specification’.

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Term

Meaning

Meter Variant

Classification of meter type under the Operational Framework. A ‘Standard’ variant is suitable for installation at the majority of meter points in Great Britain. Other variants exist to cover specific supply, circuit or customer issues at a site. Examples include Polyphase, Semi-Concealed or 5 Terminal variants. The full table of Meter Variants can be found in the ‘Smart Meter Functional Specification’.

Meter Worker

A generic Operational Framework term referring to any person attending a metering point for the purposes of installation, maintenance, investigation, replacement or removal of the Metering System. Includes existing energy industry defined roles of Meter Operator, Meter Asset Maintainer, Meter Reader, Data Retriever etc.

Open Standard

The European Union definition of an open standard (taken from “European Interoperability Framework for panEuropean eGovernment Services”) is: • The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus or majority decision etc.). • The standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee. • The intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis. There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.

Operational Framework, or SMOF

Smart Metering Operational Framework Proposals and Options v1 – as published August 2007 by the ERA

PSTN

Public Switched Telephone Network

SCADA

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, generally an industrial control system managed by a computer.

SRSM Project

Supplier Requirements of Smart Metering project. Exercise in 2006-08 undertaken by ERA to develop the Operational Framework. Ongoing at the time of developing this document

Supplier

Means an energy retail business

WAN (Wide Area Network) Communications

Communications between a Metering System and a remote Authorised Party

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Assumptions and Issues

This section of the document presents any assumptions used as the basis of the information provided. It also provides details of particular smart metering WAN Communications issues.

4.1 Assumptions Whilst defining the WAN Communications options, a number of assumptions have been used. These are presented below: A.1. All communications options are (or will be) compliant with relevant legislation and regulations A.2. Smart meter functionality is broadly equivalent to the SRSM Smart Meter Specification A.3. WAN Communications options are defined only so far as to reach a connection to the Data Transport. Architectures and systems ‘upstream’, i.e. how an energy Supplier accesses metering data, are subject to separate consideration A.4. WAN Communications service provision will include network management activity suitable to that network, i.e. traffic and outage management, scheduling, fault resolution. A.5. Smart meters will all have unique (fixed or dynamic) network addresses in accordance with the protocols to be used

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4.2 Issues 4.2.1 Variety of Premises Types Communicating with a smart meter or smart metering system will, when considering the mass domestic market, need to include a consideration of the variety of property types and configurations where smart meters could be installed. There will be specific problems with blocks of flats, rural houses, properties converted for multiple occupancy, unmanned premises etc. The issue is further compounded by a variety of physical energy supply conditions that can be site or customer specific. There has been little standardisation of the exact positioning of where the meter is located. Meter location, which is usually an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ consideration, and could be anywhere within or outside premises (or another premises for multioccupancy premises with meter rooms), will introduce a range of challenges for communications solutions. Similarly, for any number of reasons (preserved tariffs, council heating initiatives, installed equipment, historical consumption requirements etc), the energy supply (typically for specific electricity heating configurations, but potentially including gas configurations e.g. sub/deduct metering arrangements) to a premises could be ‘different’. The difference could range from heatwise meters to support night storage heaters through to the use of multiple meters for a single ‘supply’. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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As an example of WAN Communications issues, most premises have access to (or can be connected to) the fixed telephony network, but not all can be upgraded to broadband, or receive a poor or non-existent cell service for mobile telephony. Similarly, all premises that will have an electricity meter could be candidates for Power Line Communication, but remote properties could be un-economic due to the cost of installing the necessary filtering equipment to make the power line suitable for data transmissions over long carries.

4.2.2 Longevity Communications technology presents a unique challenge for smart metering. The typical asset life of an energy meter is in excess of ten years, and very few of the communications solutions options presented below existed in recognisable form ten years ago, and it remains a significant risk that any solutions preferred today might not exist (outside of smart metering) ten years from now. This is an issue that is currently being experienced with some energy related equipment that utilises 14.4kb or slower modems over PSTN with dedicated telephone lines – the service will not be practical on BT’s IP-based next generation network. Robust future resistance within smart meters could require modular construction to be mandatory within the functional specification of those meters – allowing communications hardware to be upgraded without replacing the energy meter asset, or a reduction in the asset life expectation of meters that are more technologically advanced than those used currently.

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Solution Options

This section of the document presents the wired and wireless options for WAN communications for smart metering. The diagram below shows an overview of the options:

Head End Systems Data Presentation Wired Options

Wireless Options Exchange Concentrator

Substation Switch “Head End” TransEquipment former

Repeater

Power Line Carrier

Long Range Radio

Cellular

Existing Telephony

Wireless Mesh

Figure 7 Wired and Wireless Options

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Support

Requirements

General

It uses a standard template to capture detail relating to each of the options. This template is presented below with a description of the type of information to be captured. Option

Name

Reference

A signifying abbreviation for the option to assist with reference in other workstream (and subsequent) documentation

Description:

A description of the option

Meter Hardware:

What does the option require of a smart meter – e.g. a wireless radio chip, network card, connection port etc.

Infrastructure Hardware:

Equipment required by the option outwith the metering system – e.g. concentrators, switches, antenna etc.

Data:

Any relevant information about data transfer – packet sizes, maximum speed etc.

Standards:

International or national standards relevant to smart metering utilisation of the option.

Protocols:

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or restrictions. Power consumption of the option, acknowledging usage assumptions. Considers both the power consumption at the meter, and any impact on energy usage/battery life. Also considers the power consumption of the infrastructure to support smart metering

International Examples

Has the option been used in a smart metering context in other markets?

Use in other applications:

Is the solution used for other purposes, i.e. not for smart metering, but for building controls, telecare, entertainment etc.

Maturity:

Is the solution available today? If not, when will it be available?

Notes:

Any other notes, weblinks to relevant materials etc.

Usage

Power

Power:

5.1 Wired Solution Options For the vast majority of homes within Britain there will already be at least two wires capable of delivering electronic communications – the electricity supply cable and the telephone line. A number of properties will have additional telephone lines specifically for high-speed data connections, or a fibre optic cable for multimedia and broadband purposes. The communications and energy industries have developed a number of technical solutions to deliver electronic data exchanges over these wires.

5.1.1 Power Line Carrier One of the most widely used technologies for advanced metering, power line communications makes use of the existing electricity wires to transfer data. The diagram below illustrates how a smart meter could be connected to the Data Transport using power line carrier:

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Data Transport (internet)

Figure 8 Power Line Carrier

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The same infrastructure as shown above could support narrowband or broadband data services. The key difference would be in the sophistication (and cost) of the equipment installed in the infrastructure and the meters to support higher bandwidth data connections. For the purposes of defining Power Line Carrier, this document does not distinguish between narrowband or broadband applications of the physical media. Theoretically, a power line carrier network should be as capable as any other fixed network of supporting interoperable communications protocols– IP, HTML, SSL etc. However, it has generally been the practice for a utility to contract with a solution provider who then uses proprietary hardware or software within the network to deliver the service. There are international examples of investment in Broadband over Power Line (BPL) infrastructures allowing a much higher bandwidth. However, these are usually implemented with the intention of providing non-utility services such as internet connection or multimedia services. Option

Power Line Carrier

Reference:

PLC

Description:

The Edison Electrical Institute defines power line carrier as “A communication system where the utility power line is used as the primary element in the communication link.” All power line communications systems operate by impressing a modulated carrier signal on the wiring system. Different types of powerline communications use different frequency bands or modulation techniques, depending on the signal transmission Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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characteristics of the power wiring used. There can be differing terminology - Power Line Communications could refer to data transferred over the High and Medium Voltage wires, with Distribution Line Carrier referring to the Low Voltage connection to individual meters. Initially in a metering context, PLC was used to deliver 1 way information transmission, with meters sending consumption information according to configured schedules. Technology is now widely available that allow for bi-directional use of PLC to and from meters. A number of existing solutions use mesh networking, sending information from meter to meter to reach a concentrator – this can effect the overall speed of the solution. Implementations in other markets do not attract a ‘per kilobit’ commercial cost model (unlike cellular), meaning that the cost to use a PLC network will not flex with the volumes of data transferred. Meter Hardware:

As PLC communicating Smart meters utilise the electricity mains wiring, the hardware within the meter will include a transponder or transceiver to deliver communications capability, with some associated microelectronics to provide coupling to the wiring, power management etc. Examples of meter hardware components are shown below this table.

Infrastructure Hardware:

The scale of infrastructure required by a PLC implementation varies by the commercial solution selected. Some include substantial equipment within the electricity distribution network, others are less intrusive. All PLC deployments will require some network infrastructure equipment. Examples are shown below this table.

Data:

The ‘speed’ of data transfers varies by commercial solution. Traditionally PLC has been viewed as a narrowband communications link, with speeds lower than 10kbps. However, technology continues to offer alternatives, with much higher speeds available with more expensive components within the infrastructure and meter. One of the ‘narrowband’ PLC systems reviewed stated a time of 20 seconds for an enquiry from a utility billing system front end to receive a response containing a meter read from an individual meter. There are widely available and utilised HomePlug technologies using PLC connections that offer speeds of 14MBps, 85MBps and 200MBps – it is thought that these high rates are only possible at reasonably low cost by the ‘closed’ nature of mains wiring within a home. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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There are a number of international standards for PLC in use or under development:

ETSI have a suite of standards relating to PLC, and are also working with a CENELEC committee on power line (SC 205A) IEEE standards  P1775, P1675, P1901 – focus seems to be more on developing the Broadband over Power Line aspects LonWorks – a standard operated by Echelon, based upon the use of their protocol and silicon within a range of applications and devices OPERA – EU funded initiative, being lead by Iberdrola, to develop an interoperable platform to use PLC for utility and internet purposes HomePlug Command and Control – primarily developed to deliver home automation services, this PLC option could be used between an electricity meter and a WAN concentrator

Protocols:

There are a wide range of protocols currently in use, generally being supplier-, service- or applicationspecific. The protocols will include a specific modulation scheme to impose the carrier signal. Some use Frequency Shift Key techniques, some use Spread Spectrum or other methods. It is important to note that modulation schemes are not interoperable – meters using one scheme will not speak to concentrators using a different scheme.

Power:

The power usage implications of any PLC system will be largely dependent on the type of infrastructure installed. Data concentrators will all represent ‘new’ equipment that will consume power. The power consumption of the PLC communications system itself – the transmission and processing of the carrier signal – is also dependent on the signal, frequency, level of amplification etc.

International Examples:

The Echelon system described below has been implemented in Italy for 30m domestic electricity customers. There are a large number of PLC AMR systems in use in the US. The Aclara TWACs system described below is being used by Pacific Gas and Electric.

Use in other applications:

PLC solutions are generally used for utility applications – distribution and transmission operator SCADA systems, AMR, smart grid.

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Maturity:

PLC solutions are available ‘off-the-shelf’ from a number of service providers. The technology is being used extensively in AMR/AMI applications in the US and in Europe.

Notes:

- PLC for smart metering in Britain could require: • Extension of an existing data network within a distribution company – i.e. the power lines are already in use for SCADA purposes • Installation of new PLC equipment, on distribution (or transmission) premises, or other premises, depending on the nature of the implementation • Projects are generally ‘turnkey’ deployments by PLC specialists, although some have been implemented by utility personnel themselves. Where there is a ‘turnkey’ project, then issues with training and qualifications and wayleaves to enter substations will need to be considered - It is important to note that PLC does not rely upon a connection for every meter to operate effectively within an area. - A number of technical challenges for PLC remain where the meter is remote, or the electricity infrastructure is not wholly robust (communications success/quality is generally directly linked to the distance between devices). - The potential effects of widespread use of microgeneration on the quality of PLC communications remains unclear. - Similarly, there are reports of interference from customer appliances – washing machines and other equipment with electric motors.

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Some of the PLC installations are naturally vulnerable to power outages. Techniques are emerging using capacitors (and super capacitors) in electricity meters to send ‘power outage’ messages back into the network once the frequency of the current falls below a configurable tolerance (risk of a ‘brownout’), or the power fails completely. As PLC signals operate at a much lower voltage than mains supply, these messages can still reach a concentrator. Shown below is an example of a retrofit PLC component for an American solid state electricity meter. The actual communications hardware is the transponder unit. This unit is for use within the TWACs platform (Two-Way Automatic Communication System) as provided by Aclara.

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Figure 9 PLC Retrofit Module

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Shown below are illustrations of PLC equipment as may be installed in an electricity substation to provide communications connectivity to meters (transponders) on the low voltage network.

Figure 10 PLC Substation Equipment

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The second image shows the unit within a substation that provides the backhaul link to head-end systems. This particular unit supports connectivity to a range of physical media for backhaul, which is usually whatever is available at the equipment location or as preferred by the utility. Examples given include PLC, serial connection to an Ethernet connected computer, dialup modem, radio, microwave, fibre, cellular or satellite.

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Figure 11 PLC Substation Equipment 2

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An alternative approach is used by the Echelon Corporation, who utilise transceiver chips within meters and data concentrators that do not need to be installed at a substation. Shown below is an example of the transceiver chips that would be included in a meter (or powerline controlled thermostat, light switch, security camera etc.). Although two chips are shown, only one is required in each meter, alongside some microelectronic components (capacitors, resistors).

Figure 12 Echelon PLC Transceiver Chips

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Shown below is an Echelon data concentrator – these could be fitted alongside meters, rather than in substations. These units come either with an Ethernet connection – to hook into an existing broadband service, or with a modular bay, antenna and serial port to support a modem appropriate to the installation requirements. In most instances this will mean a GSM/GPRS modem. This particular model can manage connections for over 1000 electricity meters (and up to 4000 M-Bus devices – i.e. gas and water meters).

Figure 13 Echelon NES PLC Data Concentrator

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Taking the Echelon model, the PLC infrastructure could be as shown below, illustrating the minimal requirement for access to distribution premises.

Data Transport (internet)

Figure 14 Echelon PLC Infrastructure Options

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There are many more examples of individual design approaches to PLC deployment, often using a mix of physical media alongside the power lines to reach the head end systems. Information from the Continuon deployment in Holland suggests the ‘per meter’ cost of PLC equipment at volume is less than 5 Euros. As an illustration of potential ancillary equipment, shown below is a PLC repeater unit from the Finnish company Enermet – this is used to increase the communication range between an electricity meter and concentrator units.

Figure 15 PLC Repeater Unit

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A further example is shown below – the Enermet retrofit device that delivers PLC connectivity to any electricity meter with a standard terminal block.

Figure 16 Retrofit PLC unit

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Finally, and announced in July 2008, transceiver chips are emerging to deliver 100kBit/s speeds over powerline. Using different modulation techniques, the chip shown below can operate globally (US/EU markets allow different frequencies for the carrier signal), and is listed at $8.50 per unit.

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Figure 17 High Speed PLC Chip

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5.1.2 Fixed Line There is already an extensive and flexible wired communication system in place in the UK. There are three main options for smart metering that could use existing telecommunications wires: o PSTN o xDSL – broadband o Cable All of these solutions may require the use of equipment external to the meter to connect it to the fixed line, as telephony entry points to premises are unlikely to be coincident with energy meter locations. Shown below is an illustration of the potential infrastructure for smart metering using fixed line telephony.

Figure 18 Fixed Line Infrastructure

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Option

PSTN/POTS (Plain Old Telephone System)

Reference:

TEL

Description:

Most of the energy metering for large user sites will already have PSTN connectivity – all Half Hourly

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electricity and Daily Metered gas sites require regular data collection, and this has traditionally been done through the use of a meter (or datalogger) with a modem connected to a telephone line. For a wider scale deployment of smart metering, the system would operate in the same way – each metering system would include a modem and be connected to a telephone line. It would be possible, using Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) to use/share an existing customer line for smart metering. Meter Hardware:

Meters will require some form of modem. There is a wide range of technological options for meter modem. Some illustrations are shown below this table.

Infrastructure Hardware:

Generally already in place for most premises – i.e. a connected telephone line and the infrastructure to support it.

Data:

Dial-up connection speeds are now seen as inferior for applications such as internet connections, but may be sufficient for smart metering purposes. The speed of data transfer is in direct correlation to the modem within the meter.

Standards:

Existing and well established to deliver voice and data services using PSTN.

Protocols:

Will vary by service or component provider – the majority of existing protocols will be proprietary - but there are DLMS classes for PSTN modem operation and configuration.

Power:

Power consumption of an internal modem will vary by model and transmission speed – i.e. a slower modem may use more power as it operates in an ‘active’ mode for longer than a seemingly more powerful faster model.

International Examples:

PSTN for residential metering is not common, although there are numerous examples of usage for business customers.

Use in other applications:

Alongside widespread use for industrial metering for gas and electricity customers.

Maturity:

The PSTN network and devices

Notes:

Ofcom’s Nations & Regions Communications Market report in May 2008 shows that 87% of UK households have a fixed line, and that this number is falling as increasing numbers of customers rely solely upon mobile telephony.

Shown below are a number of existing internal and retrofit modem components for use in electricity smart metering. All of these modems will require connection to a telephone line, and tend to use Caller Line Identification to ensure that they only send data to recognised parties. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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Figure 19 Elster PSTN Modem

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This Elster modem is designed to be installed under the terminal cover of an electricity meter (see below) to protect it from interference or environmental problems. It connects to the meter using one of a range of standard serial interfaces (RS232, RS485, CL1) and supports data transmission speeds of up to 19.2kBit/s. A variant model exists with an M-Bus interface allowing more than one meter or device, for example gas and water meters or a smart thermostat, to share the modem connection.

Figure 20 Elster Modem in situ

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Figure 21 Landis + Gyr PSTN Modem Component

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Shown above is one of a range of internal meter modem components from Landis + Gyr. As with the Elster modem, this connects to a phone line, and to the meter using the RS485 serial port.

Figure 22 Enermet PSTN Modem

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Enermet are now part of the Landis+Gyr group, but the modem shown above is a retrofit unit to provide connectivity for existing electricity meters. It connects using an RS232 interface and offers connection speeds up to 33kBit/s. Option

Broadband xDSL

Reference:

DSL

Description:

Similar to PSTN connections, this option would utilise a fixed telephony line, but delivers data transfers at a much higher speed. xDSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, with the x signifying the particular version in use. This is typically ADSL (Asynchronous), although could include SDSL (Symmetric), HDSL (High bit rate), and several other

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variants. Meter Hardware:

Whilst there are a number of Broadband Over Powerline products available, these are mainly aimed at the delivery of internet services to premises using a powerline, rather than the meter itself connecting to a fixed line broadband network. It was not possible to find examples of modems specifically connecting meters to xDSL services.

Infrastructure Hardware:

For the majority of areas this will already be in place to deliver high speed internet connection services.

Data:

Broadband speeds can vary by area or service provider, but are all capable of significantly higher data transfer speeds than PSTN. One example from service provider literature states delivery of a meter read to a billing system using broadband taking 4 seconds.

Standards:

As discussed above, there are a variety of broadband standards and versions – ADSL (and updates) is by far the most common type in use.

Protocols:

The physical broadband connection will support a wide range of protocols, as it is currently used within a number of applications. However, it is not clear if there are any specific protocols in place or under development for energy meters.

Power:

An internal or external modem will consume power during standby and transmission and reception. As an example, a standard home router uses 6 watts.

International Examples:

No examples of the use of existing broadband connections for utility meter data services have been found.

Use in other applications:

Used widely for internet connectivity.

Maturity:

Mature for other services, not evident in a smart metering context.

Notes:

Whilst coverage is increasing, the proportion of homes in Britain with access to broadband remains well below 100%.3 There may be co-existence issues, as it is understood that only one xDSL modem can operate on a line at any one time. Sharing an existing line where a customer already has a broadband router, could cause issues. See the discussion regarding Active Line Access below for details of developments in the broadband services market.

3

May 2008 figure is 57% of UK homes with a broadband internet connection Nations and

Regions Communications Market Ofcom

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Option

Cable

Reference:

CAB

Description:

A number of households have co-axial or fibre optic cables delivering television, telephony and internet services. It would be possible to utilise this cable to transfer smart metering data. See Active Line Access discussion below for details of where this opportunity might develop for smart metering. A number of discussions have suggested that the electricity meter could represent ubiquitous Customer Premises Equipment as required to ‘light the fibre’.

Meter Hardware:

Requires a transceiver in the meter. There are a number of patents lodged with the US Patent Office for energy revenue meters with fibre optic connections, and a small number of high value meters for industrial use but actual products for a residential metering market are not evident.

Infrastructure Hardware:

Assumed to be in place for traditional cable service delivery of television and internet access.

Data:

Theoretically the highest speed of data transfer.

Standards:

There are existing European and global standards for delivering television over cable, although no evident detail of a similar standard for energy metering.

Protocols:

As with broadband, cable networks will support a wide range of protocols. There are no apparent specific protocols for utility metering.

Power:

As there are no actual products to review, power consumption can only be estimated by the power consumption of a cable router – 8 watts.

International Examples:

There is no evidence of the use of existing cable networks for energy smart metering, although products are emerging to make use of this.

Use in other applications:

Widely used in North America for television services. Also used for telephony and data services.

Maturity:

Fully mature for primary applications, immature within a smart metering context.

Notes:

Currently approximately 50% of the households in Britain have access to cable, with 95% of those being served by Virgin Media.

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Shown below is an example of a fibre based metering solution from Carina Technology – the box on the right is designed to take a circular electricity meter as commonly found in the US.

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Figure 23 Cable Metering Solution

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5.2 Wireless Solution Options The alternative to a wired solution is the use of radio technology. Mobile phones, laptop computers and a range of increasingly common consumer equipment make use of wireless technologies to relay voice or data communications. All of these applications are based upon silicon radio transceivers. There are several types of wireless communications, usually distinguished by the frequency band and the standards used, and the primary application.

5.2.1 Cellular Communications There are a number of types of communications options based upon the cellular network. This document does not distinguish between GSM, SMS, GPRS as separate options as they will all utilise the same network infrastructure and basic hardware within a meter. The illustration below is a simple infrastructure for energy meters to utilise existing mobile telephony networks for WAN communications. Note that the illustration shows a single network infrastructure, where in fact there are several licensed networks in operation.

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Data Transport (internet)

Figure 24 Cellular Infrastructure

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Note that infrastructures amongst network operators will vary. An example not shown in the illustration would be the use of satellite connection to the Data Transport for a remote mobile mast. Option

Cellular

Reference:

CEL

Description:

Cellular networks are increasingly pervasive. The infrastructure is in place, there is competition between service providers and a range of service options tailored to customer requirements. Smart metering is increasingly adopting cellular technology to provide the physical carrier to and from metering devices – the cellular platform exists, it is robust and there are attractive tariffs for applications that do not require voice services. The range of meters and ancillary products using cellular technology is increasing, and take up by smart metering and AMI projects, particularly in Northern Europe, is increasing.

Meter Hardware:

Each meter, including potentially gas meters, would require a GSM modem (examples are shown below). There may also be a requirement for an internal or external antenna, usually depending on the modem or signal coverage. GSM modems for utility data use would not require some of the more sophisticated functionality found to handle voice and other applications in mobile telephony. Broadly, there are three different ‘models’ for data transfer using cellular technology: • Global System for Mobile (GSM) – operates at a top speed of 9.6kbit/s • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) – operates

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at a top speed of 140kbit/s (actual throughput is closer to 56.6kbit/s). There are several standardized classes of GPRS, all of which offer different speeds. • 3G services:  Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UTMS) – 384kbit/s  High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) – 14.4mbit/s It is important to note that actual speeds delivered are lower than listed. All GSM modems currently on the market require the use of a SIM card. Infrastructure Hardware:

Generally already in place, providing near national coverage. Coverage is higher for GSM than for GPRS or 3G, although this is being addressed.

Data:

The speed of data transfer possible is generally set by the standard used – GPRS, UTMS, SMS etc. (see the description above for speeds) Additionally, SMS places an upper limit on message size.

Standards:

Cellular communications uses a wide range of standards to distinguish services. These can be global, regional or service specific standards. There is no specific standard for energy metering.

Protocols:

Where cellular carriers are used in a metering context, this is typically done as part of a managed service from a communications or data agent. Whilst delivering this service, the agent may use standard or proprietary protocols to encode or encrypt data. Cellular data services increasingly support (or transparently support) standard internet protocols.

Power:

Although smart meter data messages will generally be very small files sent intermittently, the use of a GSM modem necessarily uses more power than PLC or Low Power Radio options. Peak consumption of 2 Amps have been recorded, although it is expected that power management innovation will improve this. Also, the additional power consumption of the cellular network itself to support a smart metering network would not be inconsiderable.

International Examples:

There is extensive use of GSM/GPRS at a meter level in Nordic implementations.

Use in other applications:

Used globally for voice and data communications.

Maturity:

Fully established for primary telephony applications. Growing usage for energy metering applications.

Notes:

There have been concerns over the constraints of the SIM card, which generally has a one to one

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relationship with a mobile network operator. However there are options to address this potential ‘physical’ barrier (i.e. a SIM card could require a field visit to replace if a customer changed energy Supplier, who prefers a different network operator to the one in the meter). These possibilities have included ‘roaming SIMs’ and ‘SoftSIMs’. Concerns have also been evident regarding the signal strength (and hence power consumption) relating to particular meter locations, typically metal meter cabinets. Environmental robustness for external meter placements is also a factor. Mains powered GSM modems will be susceptible to power outages unless back-up batteries form part of the solution. At times of intensive traffic load on the mobile network, there may be issues in delivering metering data packets. Discussions have raised concerns that some cellular platforms, GSM, have limited life expectancy that could be less than the expected life of a metering asset.

Shown below is an example of a GSM modem provided by Elster – this is designed to be fitted to the distribution board and connected via a serial interface on the meter. Alternatively it could be fitted under the terminal cover of the meter.

Figure 25 Elster GSM Modem (with Internal Antenna)

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A second example of a GSM modem, this time in situ attached to a standard electricity meter is shown below.

Figure 26 GSM Modem Connected to Electricity Meter

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It is understood that a reasonable cost figure for a GSM modem for use in an energy meter is 20-30 Euros. GSM based smart meters could be expected to operate using a machine to machine (M2M) set of tariffs. Developments in the M2M commercial and technical market are moving very quickly. ETSI hosted a major conference in June 2008, where metering was featured in a number of potential applications. The example below shows options for the use of an advanced SIM card – a Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) in M2M applications, one of which does not require a physical card.

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Figure 27 Ericsson Options for Future SIM Cards Another option, currently being tested by the Norwegian telecom company TeleNor, who are also involved in smart metering deployments in Norway, features an advanced SIM card that has its’ own built in radio, and therefore would not require a GSM modem.

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Figure 28 Telenor UICC with Embedded WLAN

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These new devices are then shown operating within an AMR context, although as an 802.11/802.15.4 radio, it would support smart metering 2 way communications.

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Figure 29 Telecnor WLANSIM AMR Slide

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5.2.2 Low Power Radio A growing communications market, utilising silicon transceivers and specific protocol stacks, is developing solution options to allow devices and sensors to be networked. Using similar technology to that used to link mobile phones and headsets, there is a range of applications for solutions such as ZigBee, Bluetooth and ZWave. These include, alongside computing and telecommunications, use in other markets such as home automation and building control, SCADA systems and even livestock control. Other commercial options for low power radio have been specifically developed for (or evolved as a result of) utility communications. Examples of these include the M-Bus standards used for smart metering in northern Europe, the Wavenis solution used for water metering in France and the Trilliant platform being used by some utilities in Canada. ZigBee offers a specific Smart Energy profile, developed with utilities in America and Australia to provide smart metering connectivity to home area networks. Some of the low power radio systems operate using a mesh network, bouncing packets of data through a series of nodes to reach their target. Using this type of network topology offers the protection of avoiding potential single points of failure in a network, but can also increase the power consumption of every fully functional node in the network as they have to be able to receive and transmit data to and from neighbouring nodes whenever data transfers are required. Some of the mesh-based solutions feature non-repeating ‘end’ devices, where power consumption will be lower than for fully functioning nodes. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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The SRSM project is reviewing low power radio technologies in detail for use within gas and electricity meters for Local Communications – i.e. between meters, displays and other devices within the home. However, using the same radio chips and protocols for WAN communications would overlay a distinct set of requirements specific to the WAN context that would not apply to the Local context. For example, signal propagation characteristics, support for data security techniques and network addressing requirements may all be more stringent for WAN usage of low power radio. Shown below is an illustration of how a low power radio infrastructure for WAN communications could look. The location of the data concentrator with this approach is very flexible.

Data Transport (internet)

Figure 30 Low Power Radio Infrastructure Examples

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Option

Low Power Radio

Reference:

RF1

Description:

A specific wireless approach to provide connections for a range of devices. Solutions are generally designed for small data transfers over relatively short distances4. There is a crowded market for low power radio – solutions such as ZigBee, M-Bus, KNX, Z-Wave etc. – are all competing for business. A number of these solutions feature specific utility metering applications.

Meter Hardware:

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Requires the use of a silicon radio transceiver, there are many different types of these chips. Some come with built in antennas, some require external antennas, some come as a ‘System on Chip’ product, others require an external microcontroller alongside

4

Some Low Power Radio systems can communicate over distances in excess of 1km, usually with suitable line of sight and signal amplification conditions

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the radio. Examples of radio chips are shown below this table. Infrastructure Hardware:

Will require some form of data concentrator to provide backhaul connection to the Data Transport.

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There are no fixed design solutions for the infrastructure, and indeed the optimum design will be determined by the density of meters, types of housing and the local landscape. Low power radio signals can be affected by line of sight, co-existence and signal interference issues. Data concentrators could take the form of a ‘black box’ on a lamp-post or other street furniture. Or it could be a single meter in 200 that also has a modem connected to a fixed or wireless connection to the Data Transport. Data:

Each solution option offers different data transfer speeds, and speeds are also determined by the signal frequency. Actual throughput will vary, and always be lower than stated by the solution providers, but speeds range from 20kbit/s to 250kbit/s.

Standards:

The licensed radio band for utility meters in the UK is 184MHz, although the data transfer speeds are comparatively low compared to unlicensed options. It is also important to note that the cost of 184MHz radios is significantly higher (due to low volumes in a specific licensed band) than for other frequencies – figures over £50 have been stated. A number of commercial solutions are based upon the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard, however in this market, the protocol stack is generally the standard that defines and differentiates solutions from each other.

Protocols:

The protocol stack is the key differentiator for competing technologies, each have individual strengths and weaknesses. One of the more established

Power:

Low power radio systems have been designed to use as little power as possible to maximise battery life in devices. Again performance will vary by the particular technology and protocol stack.

International Examples:

The Trilliant solution has been installed for 500,000 customers of Hydro One in Ontario.

Use in other applications:

Home automation and control, SCADA and a range of ICT applications

Maturity:

Whilst Bluetooth is now established, a number of the other offerings are still evolving.

Notes:

It is important to note that even whilst some solutions can use the same radio chipsets or IEEE standards, protocols are not interoperable – a Zigbee radio will

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not speak to a Trilliant radio. Compatible extensions are appearing, for example Wavenis will work with Bluetooth. It has been noted that in order for low power radios to form mesh networks outside of premises legally in the UK, they cannot operate at 868MHz.

Shown below are examples of the types of low power radio transceivers as might be used within smart meters.

Figure 31 ZigBee 7mm x 7mm Chip

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Figure 32 Zensys Z-Wave Chip

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Figure 33 Bluetooth Chip

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Figure 34 Trilliant Gas Module

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Figure 35 Trilliant Gas Module in situ

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Finally, the illustration below shows how a mesh network of low power radio devices in gas and electricity meters could operate. This is taken from Trilliant materials.

Figure 36 Low Power Mesh Infrastructure

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5.2.3 Long Range Radio There are a number of existing applications for long range radio, aside from the traditional 1-way broadcast delivery. International examples of the use of long range radio include the Sensus FlexNet solution used widely in North America, or the utilisation of Metropolitan Area Networks based on Wi-Fi or WiMAX by municipal utilities. Shown below is an illustration of two different types of long range radio infrastructures – the top section shows a network where each tower is Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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connected to provide backhaul connectivity. The lower section shows how WiMAX antennas can use mesh topology to connect.

Data Transport (internet)

Figure 37 Long Range Radio Infrastructure

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Option

Licensed/Private Frequency

Reference:

LRR1

Description:

For this option a service provider will have obtained a licence for a section of the radio spectrum, and would make all or some of that frequency allocation available for smart metering use.

Meter Hardware:

Radio transceiver chip and antenna, operating at the licensed frequency. See below for examples

Infrastructure Hardware:

Tower based radio infrastructure covering the area where meters are installed. Typically these will be placed at a much lower density than the data concentrators for other options, and could be placed 5-15 miles apart. Each tower will have some equipment with a modem to provide the backhaul connection to the Data Transport.

Data:

Speed of data transmission will depend on the frequency used.

Standards:

As these types of solutions generally use licensed frequency bands, the standards used are likely to be proprietary to the solution provider.

Protocols:

As per standards.

Power:

The Sensus solution uses provides 2 watts of broadcast power from the meters. It also states a 20 year battery life for gas and water AMR meters for daily updates.

International Examples:

The Sensus FlexNet solution is used widely in North America, particularly for one-way gas and water AMR services.

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Use in other applications:

Tower-based radio communication is a fully mature technology and provides a great deal of the broadcast media.

Maturity:

There are international applications in metering, but in Britain this type of communication has been used mainly by National Grid as part of their SCADA systems, rather than as part of a metering solution.

Deleted: 1

Notes:

Shown below an illustration of a prototype component for use with the Arqvia network of radio infrastructure. The antenna shown may not represent the final design.

Figure 38 Arqiva Component Prototype

Deleted: 37

The Sensus Flexnet literature includes the following illustration of the infrastructure. TGB means Tower Gateway Basestation, and RNI means Regional Network Interface.

Figure 39 FlexNet Architecture

Deleted: 38

Finally, the illustration below shows a FlexNet electricity meter with the cover removed.

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Figure 40 Sensus FlexNet Meter

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Option

WiMAX

Reference:

LRR2

Description:

Also known as 4G, WiMAX is a ‘last mile’ wireless solution based upon a cellular antenna infrastructure. Where Wi-Fi is viewed as a local technology, WiMAX is a neighbourhood/metropolitan technology.

Meter Hardware:

Would require a WiMAX chipset, similar to other wireless solutions. Research did not show any existing metering-specific products.

Infrastructure Hardware:

Requires the installation of antennas, in a cell structure, with typical spacing of 3 to 10km. WiMAX antennas are generally thought to be more expensive (although the cost is falling) than cellular or Wifi equipment.

Data:

Speeds can vary by distance of the endpoint from the antenna, and the number of endpoints using the connection from that antenna. Generally equivalent to 3G mobile internet connection speeds, unless there is a higher concentration of antennas, or proximity to an antenna.

Standards:

IEEE 802.16(x) defines the WiMAX standard. There have been several iterations of the standard, 802.16a, 802.16-2004, 802.16d etc. Most of these standards are interoperable

Protocols:

As with other ‘broadband’ physical media, WiMAX is capable of supporting most communications protocols.

Power:

Compared to other solutions, the power consumption of WiMAX hardware is high. This is generally to maintain the bandwidth

International Examples:

There are no known examples of the use of WiMAX to provide smart metering connections.

Use in other applications:

Used mainly for internet connectivity. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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Maturity:

WiMAX is increasingly featuring in mobile telephony handsets and laptop computers, but remains relatively immature. System on Chip WiMAX products are available, but the majority of offerings seem to include several chips to provide WiMAX connectivity.

Notes:

The availability of WiMAX networks in Britain is low, although there are plans to introduce metropolitan area networks in Milton Keynes and Norwich that could support energy smart metering.

Option

WiWi-Fi

Reference:

LRR3

Description:

Wi-Fi is becoming an increasingly common method of providing wireless internet connectivity for a range of consumer electronics items.

Deleted: 1

Also known as ‘wireless broadband’, it is a standardsbased solution for local area networking. Typically operates at 2.4GHz, although 5GHz products are becoming available. Meter Hardware:

Requires a Wi-Fi radio transceiver chipset in the metering system.

Infrastructure Hardware:

To be independent of customer owned equipment, a metering infrastructure based on Wi-Fi would require placement of a number of wireless access points to provide point to point connections for smart meters.

Data:

Depending upon the particular standard used, the speeds of data transfer will vary. All, however, are regarded as broadband-capable

Standards:

Based on IEEE 802.11(x) standards, with x signifying versions. 802.11a, b, g all offer similar signal propagation characteristics, with b being slower than a and g. 802.11n offers increased range and data rates.

Protocols:

Wi-Fi will support most common internet protocols

Power:

Comparatively high power usage, due to the

International Examples:

Some municipal utilities in the US are utilising existing metropolitan WiFi infrastructures for metering services. Cities such as Lafayette, Burbank and Corpus Christi have all implemented Wi-Fi for multi-utility metering (AMR and AMI).

Use in other applications:

Widely used for wireless in-home or hot-spot networking, providing personal computer and wi-fi enabled device access to network data and the internet. Increasing use in latest generation mobile phone handsets. Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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Maturity:

Fully established and developing technology

Notes:

Wi-Fi networks do not natively support mesh topologies.

Deleted: 1

The illustration below shows a Wi-Fi based infrastructure as provided by Tropos.

Figure 41 Tropos Wi-Fi Infrastructure

Deleted: 40

A metering system as might be used in the infrastructure above, as provided by SmartSynch, is shown below:

Figure 42 Smart Synch Wi-Fi Meter

Deleted: 41

Finally, shown below is a North American electricity metering solution that uses Wi-Fi chipsets within the meter. It is important to note that for this design the metering connects to the customers’ own connected router.

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Figure 43 Carina Wi-Fi Metering

Deleted: 1

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5.3 Other Options There are a number of other options for communications which have not been explored in detail in this document, mainly as these have not been considered as practical to support mass market smart metering, or that represent purely proprietary offerings. These options include: • Use of the 2-way radio paging network • PAKNET radio network • Mobitex – secure, narrowband 2 way paging network

Formatted: Bullets and Numbering

5.4 Emerging Wired/Wireless Options Communications technology continues to innovate and develop new solutions to a variety of challenges. A number of these could be applicable to the future of smart metering. This document does not propose that these solutions are suitable for smart metering or mature enough to be considered for large deployment. The technologies are presented here to illustrate the ongoing development of communications options, and for completeness when presenting potential options for smart metering communications.

Deleted: are Deleted: .

5.4.1 Femtocells A femtocell network is one where low power wireless access points operating in licensed spectrums connect standard mobile devices to a mobile operator’s network using broadband connections.

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Figure 44 Illustration of Femtocell Communications5

Deleted: 1

Deleted: 43

The femtocell device, of which an increasing number are on general sale, acts as a cellular ‘mast’ within a home – improving coverage and potentially replacing the need for a fixed voice (or data) line. There have been suggestions of energy meters acting as nodes within a local femtocell network, even potentially for an electricity meter to act at the broadband router/gateway. A benefit for smart metering of a femtocell application would be the power consumption/battery usage of a GSM-type meter. As the ‘mast’ is effectively within the boundaries of the premises, the power required to connect is much less than to reach an equivalent existing network mast.

5.4.2 Active Line Access Similar to Femtocells, Active Line Access (ALA) is a model whereby a gateway within premises is provided to support a range of services. In the ALA model, high speed broadband is delivered to the home, based upon fibre optic cabling as a result of the BT Openreach 21CN project. Customer Premises Equipment is then installed to allow a number of services and applications within the home to utilise the high speed link. Discussions on ALA are still at a relatively early stage.

5

Taken from the “Femtocell Technology” page of the UK based website www.femtoforum.org

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6

Considerations

6.1 Combinations of Physical Media Almost all of the real world examples of smart metering feature combinations of physical media to deliver end to end WAN communications. At some point within the network, PLC will become Cellular, or Fixed Wire in order to reach the WAN ‘cloud’. In the same way, Low Power Radio does not generally offer direct connectivity to the cloud. WAN Low Power Radio

Power Line Carrier

Data Concentrator

Cellular

WAN Low Power Radio

Cellular

Data Concentrator

Broadband

WAN Data Concentrator Low Power Radio

Exchange

Cellular

Fibre

WAN Comms Box Low Power Radio & PLC

Exchange Long Range Radio

Cellular

Figure 45 Combinations of Physical Media

Deleted: 44

Even varieties of individual types of physical media can be used together to deliver connectivity – low voltage PLC is not the same as medium or high voltage PLC, as SMS is not the same as 3G, or ZigBee the same as Wireless M-Bus. The image below shows how Badger meter combine two radio frequencies to deliver their Tantalus metering solution. The meter end points transmit at 900MHz (yellow lines) to the concentrator unit (blue dot) which then communicates at 200MHz (white lines) to a remote base station connected to the Data Transport.

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Deleted: 45 Deleted: Shown below is an illustration taken from the IBM response to the BERR consultation on advanced billing and metering. It shows how a range of communications technologies can co-exist to deliver smart metering information to Authorised Party head-end systems. The upstream systems are not specifically concerned with the physical media of the WAN infrastructure.¶

Figure 46 Tantalus Infrastructure

6.2 Co Co--existence of Communications Infrastructures As currently exists for customers’ general voice, data and media use, communications options for smart metering do not, of themselves, present an ‘either/or’ choice, any number could co-exist at any level of geographic granularity.

Deleted: The ‘System Boundary’ notation is for a different context discussion outside of the scope of this document.¶

There will be economic drivers to inform the decision to select the most appropriate solutions for particular premises types, streets, towns, regions etc., but there are very few technical barriers arising from the solutions options themselves. There will also be density considerations, i.e. some solutions work better if there are more meters using them, but this does not apply to all options. There are a number of papers available discussing the degree to which communications options, or other devices, can affect the quality of service delivered. Examples include the affects of lawnmowers and power tools on Power Line Carrier services, or microwaves or DECT telephones on wireless solutions, even on Wi-Fi and ZigBee operating at 2.4GHz. It must be noted that there as many papers dismissing these issues as there are those raising them.

Deleted: Figure 46 IBM End to

End Infrastructure¶ Deleted: 29-Jul-08

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Appendix: Other Information Take up and use of communications communications services

Source: Ofcom Nations & Regions Communications Market May 2008

BERR WAN Comms Options Definition v0_2 Marked  

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