Itron unveiled its Fiber Mini Access Point (Fiber MiniAP), which leverages both fiber and RF mesh connectivity for a wide range of Itron endpoints.
The Fiber MiniAP can help cooperatives leverage fiber network assets for next generation advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distributed intelligence, distribution automation, low-voltage network management, smart lighting and more to enable grid modernization beyond meter-to-cash.
Rural electric cooperatives often recognize the synergy and interdependency between broadband and smart grid networks and in many instances face the challenge of building these networks in more sparsely populated areas. It is common amongst these cooperatives to deploy fiber for both utility and commercial connectivity.
Fiber adoption will continue to accelerate as government funding for these networks becomes available. By leveraging these fiber assets, the Fiber MiniAP extends industrial IoT (IIoT) network coverage in rural areas with low meter-per-mile density while reducing infrastructure and total cost of ownership, both of which are common obstacles to cooperative network upgrades.
Further, rural electric cooperatives can use Itron's extensive partner ecosystem to address grid modernization challenges at their own pace with a future-ready IIoT network. Fiber-enabled distributed intelligence also opens the door to advanced applications such as electric vehicle monitoring and management, distributed energy resource management, Conservation Voltage Reduction and more.
Edge computing capabilities will allow for unprecedented visibility and control in low and medium voltage distribution networks, ultimately driving more value to members. Itron is currently planning to test the Fiber MiniAP with cooperative utilities and the solution will be commercially available in North America in the first half of 2024.