Pelion Connected Device Platform helps energy utilities meet operating requirements through a standards-based approach that lowers the total cost of ownership while maintaining a superior level of performance.
Overview of Wireless Smart Utilities Network (Wi-SUN)
Wi-SUN is a global standard, serving various utilities involved in activities such as metering, distribution automation, demand-side management, lighting, and other SmartCity applications. With dozens of member companies in the alliance that governs it, Wi-SUN is specifically committed to enabling scale for radio networks operated in these utilities environments. Proven deployments of tens of millions of devices around the world from member companies attest to its suitability as a technology and importance as a business enabler for device manufacturers. Pelion is a charter member of the Wi-SUN Alliance, the governing body defining the standard, and actively invests in & participates in the direction that the Alliance takes.
Pelion’s choice of working with Wi-SUN and the Alliance members comes down to a simple decision – it offers a standards-based alternative that allows for deploying technology that solves for the budget and not on technological capability.
Start from the perspective of what is required technically. Utility networks demand high reliability in noisy outdoor settings, security from the device to the utility back-office, sufficient bandwidth to enable two-way radio communications and execute over-the-air functions that enable utility business processes, a low operating expenditure on a per-service-point basis, as well as future-proofing against both technology evolution and proprietary single-technology lock-in. With these requirements satisfied, utilities can be comfortable deploying.
Benefits of Wi-SUN against alternatives
A Wi-SUN mesh solution compares favorably against competing approaches such as: power-line carrier (PLC) – communication through the power wire itself; private networks (e.g., SigFox, LoRA) through private network infrastructure; and proprietary, non-standard radios (licensed or unlicensed spectrum) backhauling either through fiber or MNO infrastructure. Shortcomings of each of these are well-known. In certain cases, direct-connect cellular (GPRS, GSM, LTE, NB-IoT, Cat-M and others) through MNO infrastructure can be a useful alternative for specific use cases and certain deployments which needs to be offset against a comparatively higher operating expenditure.
In summary, existing solutions don’t meet the requirements that these networks require in order to be operated in a way that meets the needs of the business. Hence, the Wi-SUN mesh alternative – offering over-the-air, two-way, secure communication that delivers superior resiliency, reliability, data rates, and economics – has risen to the top of the list that utilities are considering.
Pelion solution for OEMs and device manufacturers
Pelion’s heritage and lineage through its parent company, Arm, in technology markets is enabling scale through innovation that drives total cost of ownership down while not compromising on features. Pelion’s Connected Device Platform goes beyond that, building on this heritage and significant long-term investment. It offers a range of functionality in device management and connectivity that put the Wi-SUN mesh architecture in reach for device manufacturers who’ve served utilities markets for years, with cost-out opportunities both on their device development and on the operating expenditure required to run solutions in the field. Specifically, Pelion’s Device Management offers credentialing of devices for both the mesh and VPN side of the network architecture, DLMS/COSEM support, device upgrades, over-the-air firmware upgrades for both the networking card and the device, and border routing capabilities. Integration to the head-end systems required to both feed utility back-office systems as well as manage end-device – beyond the border router – functions is a snap. In short, Pelion Device Management offers device manufacturers the ability to manage their connected devices, at scale, relying on Pelion’s expertise.
Pelion’s Device Management platform offers the most state-of-the-art Wi-SUN network management. Thanks to its cloud-native architecture, Pelion Device Management offers the most modern approach to architectural integration that maximizes business benefit. Offered in both cloud and on-premise environments alongside the application (meter, lighting, distribution automation application control, etc), the ease of integration, containerized environment, and simple standards-based interaction with other layers of the architectural stack, Pelion Device Management is a step-change from previous approaches whereby network control applications were deployed monolithically. Fully open-source based, again Pelion shows that it is committed to preserving optionality and driving value for scale deployments rather than creating vendor lock-in or lengthy integration projects for vendors.
Pelion partnership with ecosystem
Just as importantly, Pelion also brings to bear an extensive array of Wi-SUN partners whose specific elements enable the overall Pelion Wi-SUN Solution architecture, including many industry leading silicon vendors offering chipset solutions on the device network-interface-card (NIC) component side; and many more on the border router side; and an extensive list of MNO providers for FAN backhaul. Extensive integration bring-up, testing, and certification is undertaken with partners to ensure that end-customers are able to enjoy the benefit of an end-to-end solution ready to meet the most demanding requests of utilities. This optionality ensures that utilities will not have to consider the downside of vendor lock-in to any of Pelion’s partners, as single-sourced solutions might otherwise do.
The lowest total cost of ownership option for utility networks is Wi-SUN, enabled by Pelion. The Wi-SUN mesh can support the biggest, most demanding scale deployments in developed and in emerging markets around the globe.