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