Smart metering

Background

Smart meters typically record energy consumption hourly or more frequently, and enable two-way communication between the meter and a central network system to relay information to the utilities supplier for monitoring and billing . Utilities are required to measure power consumed, and calibrate revenue meters to ensure metering accuracy. The standards used in the calibration process use a precise time source, such as GPS, to provide an accurate frequency reference for calibration. The frequency reference requires microsecond timing accuracy. Such an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communication may be done wirelessly or via fixed wired connections such as power line carrier (PLC).

Commonly used wireless communication options include cellular wireless wide-area network (WAN) technologies (which can be expensive), WiFi (readily available), wireless adhoc networks over WiFi, low-power radio frequency (RF) mesh solutions, low power long range wireless (LoRa), ZigBee (low power, low data rate wireless), and Wi-SUN (Smart Utility Networks).

Smart Metering infrastructures empower suppliers to reduce operating expenses by managing manual operations (such as meter reading, service disconnection) remotely, simplify micro-generation monitoring and track power generated as well as consumed, and improve forecasting and customer service through profiling and segmentation. Smart Metering also benefits end-users in the form of energy savings, reduced carbon emissions, improved service reliability and responsiveness.

Why Unictron?

 To achieve the best trade-off between power consumption and communication range, Unictron’s antenna experts have assisted meter designers depending on whether the client selects radios in the sub-GHz bands, like 915 MHz in North America, or 868 MHz and 433 MHz in Europe, with a growing interest in the 169 MHz band. Most meter manufacturers are considering the 2.4 GHz worldwide free frequency band. However, for a given power consumption, radios communicating at these frequencies have a shorter range than sub-GHz radios. Wider range is vital for gas and water meters, which can be placed in hostile environments for RF propagation, like basements and underground pits. Today, with suitable hardware, it is possible to perform synchronized, multiple measurements that allow proper management of the distribution network. 

Featured products:

  • TA 18 series
  • FP series
  • SPCB,- high efficiency, easily integrated, multi-band SMT antennas supporting 2G/3G/LTE cellular
  • CBA– high performance, compact form, multi-band ceramic SMT antennas
  • SCA– RoHS compliant, low profile antennas


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