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June 02, 2009

Smart Grid Communications Gets Dedicated Licensed Spectrum and WiMAX Technology

By Shireen Dee
TMCnet Contributor

Space Data, a provider of wireless services, recently announced the rollout of its 930 MHz licensed spectrum for smart grid communications in collaboration with Full Spectrum's Broadband Wireless System - FullMAX.
Based on the Mobile WiMAX (News - Alert) standard, FullMAX is the first Sub 1 GHz, end- to-end, wireless system. The solution enables the creation of private wide-area mission critical communications network for utilities and supports real time remote command and control of electric utility smart grid devices.
"The combination of our interference free, high powered frequencies with state of the art WiMAX technology provide utilities with a dedicated private broadband wireless system," said Jerry Knoblach, chief executive officer at Space Data, in a statement.
To enable successful deployment of smart grid devices in difficult-to-reach distribution and substation automation locations throughout the electric grid, secure, wide-area, broadband communications play a critical role. High-speed mobile data to the vehicle are needed by utilities for remote intranet access, which include graphical information and mobile workforce management applications.
"In terms of grid automation, much of the focus to date has been directed toward automatic meter reading and control,” said Stewart Kantor, chief executive officer at Full Spectrum (News - Alert), in a statement.” However, real-time, command and control of higher level grid devices are of equal if not greater importance in the drive for overall grid efficiency."
Within an electric gird, reclosers, voltage regulators, capacitor banks, and substations are typically distributed in remote areas and varying geographies, for which the use of public wireless networks proves unsuitable, as the coverage and quality of service are not effective. Unlicensed wireless systems are deficient in terms of quality of service and transmit power to reach out to remote locations inexpensively. It has been noted that unlicensed systems can require up to 40 times the infrastructure cost of a licensed solution, if deployed without considering quality of service, and hence it is prudent to go in for licensed spectrum.
Full Spectrum develops and manufactures wireless communication infrastructure equipment used in mission critical industries. The company's products enable the implementation of intelligent networks for industries including the electric utility, oil and gas, and transportation sectors.
Space Data delivers wireless services and solutions for commercial and government users using balloon borne technologies, in locations and geographies that are not served or are poorly served by existing wireless technologies and service providers.

Shireen Dee is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Shireen's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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