Smart Electricity Metering - Wirepas

Smart Electricity Metering

We provide a connectivity suite for smart metering. No, it's not PLC. It's not cellular. It's a wireless mesh. We have developed something more suitable to connect millions of smart meters. It’s a mesh operating on radio waves. Just much more advanced than you’ve seen before. The Nordic market is the most advanced smart metering market and the best place to harden connectivity products to meet demanding reliability measures. There are 920.000 smart meters only in Oslo, Norway. Forming one single mesh network. Without any subnetworks. The Nordic countries reserved the 870 MHz frequency for utility use only. We’ve licensed our mesh technology to our partners in India. Just so can prove to be the most affordable way to connect smart meters. In India, smart meters use an 865 MHz frequency. An excellent fit for Wirepas mesh. The 1.9G Hz frequency is available for Wirepas 5G Mesh anywhere else in the world.

Whom do we serve in smart metering? The most typical customer of Wirepas is a meter manufacturer who would like to become an AMR or AMI solution provider. They want to provide the best and most performing solution at the most affordable price. The companies that already work in AMR and AMI are looking for hybrid offerings. They can provide smart meters based on PLC or cellular. Their customers are after a more affordable solution that’s easy to deploy.

On the other hand, we have smart meter manufacturers with minimal skills. In those cases, we have a solid ecosystem to help with NIC card electronic design and antenna tuning to maximize wireless performance. Some partners can build an end-to-end software solution. Develop an application that reads DLMS data from the smart meters over the serial or integrates gateway or back end to off-the-shelf Head End System (HES) and delivers data to Meter Data Management (MDM).

We are licensing software directly to utilities. Why? Utilities have realized that they don't want to depend on single vertical solution suppliers. With Wirepas, they can secure interoperability, performance, and reliability. The utility can ask any meter vendor to use Wirepas mesh technology in their smart meters or use a solution provider to integrate each utility. They are getting a meter reading data and using the meter as a sensing point of the grid. The need for data from the smart meter develops over time. Smart meter firmware and software can be updated over the air (OTA) with Wirepas connectivity suite to serve any future data collection needs.

We can license Wirepas mesh to anyone in the value chain. Why it's important? That enables the fastest time to market, boosts innovation, and lets companies optimize end-to-end systems. While more offerings are available, utilities have more choices in choosing the most suitable partner for their roll out. Encourages the local partners to become champions. That’s our contribution to a more sustainable world.

How does it work?

1. The meter: The Network Interface Card (NIC)

Each meter is equipped with a NIC running the Wirepas connectivity.

On one side, it communicates with the meter itself. Typically, in DLMS format or similar to read meter indexes and send configurations. On the other side, and thanks to Wirepas Connectivity Suite, it’s connected to a gateway via a fully automatic and decentralized multi-hop mesh network.

The NIC acts as a bridge between the Head End System (HES) and the Network Management System (NMS) localized in the cloud and the physical meters localized on the field.

The NIC needs a radio component like sub-GHz EFR32fG13 or EFR32fG23 from Silicon Labs or an nRF9160 from Nordic Semiconductor in case 5G Mesh. Modular architectures are supported, including a single MCU (Micro Controlled Unit, not Marvel Cinematic Universe – in case you were thinking) if all the software runs in the radio chipset or a dual MCU in combination with another microcontroller.

2. The Network

Don't be afraid. This is easy. In the case of Wirepas mesh, the meter will connect to another meter nearby. All the meters in the range can be used as an access point to the internet. Each smart meter works as an access point to others, making the network's coverage very strong everywhere. The beauty of our mesh is that decision-making of the best next hop is decided by Wirepas' patented algorithm that runs in the radio component firmware. Hop means a connection between two devices, sometimes also called a link. The algorithm dynamically chooses the next hop based on the most reliable route to the gateway. Yes, each network requires one or more gateways to deliver data to the internet.

If you compare this to cellular: The coverage of cellular networks depends on base station locations that are typically optimized to cover areas for mobile phone applications. Smart meters are not localized the same way as people. Meters are deep-indoor, in cabinets or basements. A result is a number of black spots in coverage that are impossible to fix. Instead, Wirepas-enabled meters will act as a base station. You need one meter in the radio range to mesh toward the gateway. Smart, isn't it?

3. The gateways

Again, very very simple. There is no need for dedicated locations, high points like cellular, or links with the physical grid like PLC. A gateway is a part that collects the data. Usually, one gateway for 500 to 1000 meters is enough. Small tip, it can even be a meter. And don't worry, a gateway is not attached to a group of meters as they are fully mutualized, making the system ultra reliable.

The meter data is forwarded through ethernet or cellular network to HES from the gateway.

4. Final integration

The system can be integrated with any HES. In-house built or off-the-shelf options. Smart meters can be addressed by using an IPv6 address or unique ID. Wirepas Connectivity Suite supports diagnostics for NMS, supports Over The Air update, and automatic provisioning.

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