Smart Grid News and Analysis

IoT World Forum 2018
IoT World Forum 2018

Alcatel-Lucent enables utility companies to make the smart grid smarter


Alcatel-Lucent is to introduce new network technology that will enhance communications for utility companies to make power distribution across an entire grid, for the first time, ‘smart’ – from power generation through to customer delivery.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Internet routing technology will give utilities the ability to deploy a single, secure, reliable communications network throughout the electricity grid, supporting smarter power management to create dramatic operational and cost efficiencies.

Many utility companies are looking to upgrade to new IP/MPLS (Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching) solutions to update their communications networks. IP/MPLS offers the superior speeds, bandwidth, reliability and service capabilities to meet the growing data and two-way communications requirements of the new, more intelligent and sophisticated smart grid power distribution systems.

Until now, IP/MPLS has only been deployed in the transmission and sub-transmission layers of the power grid, which handle the distribution of energy from power stations to the substations. However Alcatel-Lucent has added new products to its range of 7705 Service Aggregation Routers (SARs) specifically designed to be deployed in the Distribution and Field Area Network (FAN) – the part of the network that distributes power to an energy supplier’s residential or business customers. This extends the benefits of IP/MPLS, including service consistency and management, across a utility’s entire communications network, making it smart from end-to-end.

The technical characteristics of IP/MPLS mean that a single, reliable and secure network can remove the need for utilities to maintain multiple application-specific networks. IP/MPLS provides support for teleprotection, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring and control systems, network distribution automation, advanced smart grid metering, and substation automation, across the entire smart grid. This greatly simplifies network management, reduces costs, and provides increased network security, ensuring outages are efficiently managed and dramatically reduced.

Stuart Ravens, Principal Analyst, Energy & Utilities Technology with analyst firm Ovum said: “Alcatel-Lucent has long focused on IP/MPLS as the technology which can drive communications convergence in the utilities industry. This announcement puts Alcatel-Lucent in a strong position to exploit the transition of legacy networks to all-IP.”

Alcatel-Lucent’s Service Aggregation Routers have real advantages for the energy and transportation industries as well as many government sectors such as public safety. Smaller than some of the existing variants, they are hardened for deployment in the harshest, most remote environments and equipped with the stringent cyber security regulations required by these markets.

Lynn Hunt, Global Vice President, Utility Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Alcatel-Lucent’s expanded Service Aggregation Router portfolio, together with our Service Routers and Network Management portfolio, allow utilities to deploy a converged IP/MPLS based smart grid communications network. In doing so, we can help utilities save time and costs and allow them to take advantage of new revenue opportunities, for example, in offering telecom services to customers over their network.”

SOURCE: Alcatel-Lucent