T&D World Magazine

Communications Node Incorporates Current, Voltage Sensing Capabilities

Ambient Corp. has incorporated key design innovations into the latest model of its communications node, commercially known as the X2000. Ambient’s hybrid platform, Ambient Smart Grid, supports multiple communications technologies such as cellular, fiber and power line carrier along with previously supported technologies such as Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) and Wi-Fi.

The combination of a flexible modular communications platform based on a single device, the Ambient X2000, minimizes utility equipment needed at the transformer. The X2000 also incorporates Ambient’s current and voltage sensing capabilities; important for utilities to monitor power delivery and operational status.

The Ambient Smart Grid enables a two-way, real-time communications platform, using the X2000, to serve the “last mile” backhaul, necessary for utilities to implement smart grid applications such as Advanced Meter Reading (AMR), real-time pricing, Demand Side Management (DSM) and direct load control. When combined, these applications can offer economic, operational and environmental benefits for utilities and utility customers. Ambient first introduced multiple high-speed BPL interfaces and Wi-Fi into its nodes in early 2005 and continues to demonstrate its ability to adapt and keep pace with the changing needs of electric utilities with numerous wireless and wire-line technology combinations available now for implementation. Ambient’s flexible hybrid communications platform, managed by Ambient’s Network Management System, AmbientNMS, meets the needs of utilities modernizing their grids for the information age by providing a single platform for multiple applications such as AMR, SCADA and sensor networks.

“In its Grid 2030: A National Vision for Electricity’s Second 100 Years, the Department of Energy (DOE) has stated that our electrical grid, ‘the supreme engineering achievement of the 20th century, is aging, inefficient, and congested, and incapable of meeting the future energy needs’. The DOE predicts a 20% increase in peak demand for electricity over the next ten years, which will only worsen in the future. Thus, creating a new, smart electrical grid will be essential in addressing some of the problems that exist today,” stated Ram Rao, CTO of Ambient. “Addressing these concerns and very serious issues, we have designed the X2000 to enable utilities to deploy a scalable hybrid communications infrastructure that meets the specific requirements for different segments of their distribution system while minimizing the operational and management overhead, with the attainable goal of creating a truly smart grid,” continued Rao.

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