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Traditional Alternatives
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Traditional Alternatives

Advanced AMRs wireless mesh network technology offers significant advantages over traditional energy management solutions available in the market.

Advantages of the Long Range Wireless Mesh Network from AAT - With long range mesh wireless networks, such as Advanced AMR, each meter interface unit (MIU) such as the AAT 8830 Wireless Device Controller is attached to the electric meter node in the wireless mesh network. Each MIU acts as a repeater allowing meter data to hop from meter-to-meter until it gets to the AAT 8856 wireless concentrator. The AAT 8856 then transmits data via an internet connection to the central location. Hops can range from 4-6 miles between meters making this ideal for both rural and urban areas. The benefits are:

  • No monthly communication costs
  • No need for towers, wiring, cabling or trenching costs
  • Low infrastructure costs to put into place and low maintenance costs
  • Self managing/self adapting network means a low cost of ownership
  • Ideal for rural locations

Power Line Carrier (PLC) -PLC uses existing power lines as a communication medium. While this has the obvious advantage of no monthly cost to an electric utility, the negatives are that it is prone to power line noise that can interfere with communications. More importantly though, is that advanced AMR capabilities are very limited because the communications is very slow, and the cost of sub-station equipment to support this type of network is quite high.

Unlicensed Short Range Wireless Mesh Network - This includes spread spectrum, 900MHz and WiFi/2.4GHz frequencies. While similar in benefits to licensed wireless, it has the significant drawback of a very limited range measured in feet rather than miles. This requires the additional infrastructure and cost of a significant number of repeater units and concentrators.

Traditional Licensed Radio - This is defined as tower-based radio systems where all meters that can 'see' the radio tower are in the network. While this has the benefit of no monthly telephone company charges, it requires repeaters and towerswith expensive monthly tower rental fees and the cost of expensive repeaters.  

Telephone Line - This uses the telephone line as the communication medium. The monthly cost of the service can easily outweigh the value of the information - particularly for frequent (e.g. 15 minute interval) data. In addition there is no redundant communication path if communications to the metered device is critical such as for alarm conditions and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications.

Cellular - This uses cellular networks as the communication medium. While it has the advantage of a quicker/cheaper install because there are no wires, it too has the disadvantages of the monthly cost of the service which can easily outweigh the value of the information. In addition, communication coverage can be spotty based on geographic area and so is not always reliable if a geographic areas needs to be covered with one communications technology.

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