T&D World Magazine

Metretek’s InvisiConnect Wireless IP Communications Solution Now Available

Metretek’s InvisiConnect wireless IP communications solution—supporting Itron’s SENTINEL and QUANTUM Q1000 electricity meters—is now commercially available.

Many electric utilities have been using the analog cell phone network as a communications medium to connect their meters to MV-90 xi and other software applications (i.e. PC-PRO+ Advanced) over the past 10 to 15 years. As utilities move to digital technology, they need to upgrade their communications hardware to support the new wireless digital cell phone networks.

Metretek’s InvisiConnect wireless IP communications solution interfaces with Itron’s SENTINEL and QUANTUM Q1000 electricity meters over the GSM networks of Cingular, and the T-Mobile and CDMA2000 networks of Verizon and Sprint.

InvisiConnect offers a transparent, secure and cost-effective hardware and software solution to facilitate wireless IP connectivity between the SENTINEL and QUANTUM Q1000 electricity meters and MV-90 xi/PC PRO+ applications software. The wireless devices are specifically designed to provide "plug and play" capability via RS-232 and/or RS-485 connectivity at the field unit level. Currently solutions are available for both GSM/GPRS and CDMA 1xRTT wireless networks. There are no complicated multiple field upgrades, new software applications development and no additional points of potential failure added to the process. It is as simple as installing InvisiConnect on the communications server and replacing the obsolete analog or CDPD device in the field.

“InvisiConnect will provide Itron SENTINEL and Q1000 metering customers with one of the most sophisticated plug-and-play wireless 3G based solutions available on the market today,” said Danny MacDonald, vice president of Sales and Service at Metretek. "Benefits are quickly realized, and they include seamless integration with PC PRO+ and MV-90 software, highly secure wireless gateway devices, and lower communication and operating costs.”

MV-90 xi and PC PRO+ operators are not required to interface with InvisiConnect after initial setup. Operators drive the applications software just as they always have. In addition, no software functionality is compromised when using InvisiConnect—all existing TIM/native protocol functionality is maintained.

The SENTINEL and Q1000 meters require an RS-232 or RS-485 type connection to the Metretek GSM20 or CDMA18 gateway devices. The utility must activate a cellular account with Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile and others for each GSM20 or CDMA18 device deployed (much like what was done for the analog cellular network).

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