Fourth Generation of Proven Network Platform Integrates Cellular and Micromesh™ Software, Delivers Faster Performance and Unprecedented Flexibility for Building Today’s Smart Grid
San Antonio, TX, January 23, 2012 – Silver Spring Networks, a leading smart grid networking platform and solutions provider, today announced its new fourth-generation networking technology, Gen4. The new Gen4 technology is the latest advancement in smart grid networking, building on Silver Spring’s nearly decade-long series of innovations across its widely deployed networking platform, which has already connected more than 10 million homes and businesses. Gen4 is focused on bringing even greater flexibility and choice to utilities, enabling them to meet new challenges and serve their customer demands more effectively and efficiently. Full product details at: www.silverspringnet.com/gen4
A new family of products embedding Gen4 technology, ranging from Communications Modules to Access Points and Relays, is focused on improving the flexibility needed to meet utilities’ demanding requirements across disparate service territories, deployment approaches and application needs. With the promise of “Any Transport, Any Territory, Any Endpoint, Any Application,” Gen4 technology provides a new innovative integrated cellular option, will deliver the industry’s first Micromesh™ software and triples the network’s performance. These new innovations enable utilities to have more options to efficiently cover all of their territory from sparse to dense and to support multiple smart grid applications on an integrated, centrally managed IP network.
“Gen4 is an exciting development for the industry that was made possible by working with the most respected companies in energy and technology, with the objective to create more value and an unprecedented business case for our clients,” said Scott Lang, CEO of Silver Spring. “Our new Gen4 technology further builds on our knowledge and industry leadership of successfully connecting more than 10 million homes and businesses on a field tested, proven and secure IPv6 network that is delivering reliably every day.”
“As we have upgraded nearly 9 million meters and connected millions of customers to the network, we’ve already seen tremendous innovation from Silver Spring in enabling connectivity across our service territory,” said Al Torres, vice president of Customer Operations at PG&E. “We are excited about Silver Spring’s efforts to add transport flexibility and deliver faster performance to simplify our coverage efforts and enable next-gen applications.”
“We thank the industry and our partners for their invaluable insights and support as we launch our latest network technology innovation, Gen4,” continued Lang. “We look forward to working with our partners as we continue the global build-out of the smart grid in the coming years.”
“Given all the ways in which our joint customers are implementing distribution automation, the increased bandwidth and flexibility of the Silver Spring solution is well suited to their needs,” said Bill Whitehead, director of business development at ABB. “The ability to choose from a variety of transport types will be very valuable as utilities grapple with changing regulatory environments and operating priorities.”
“Instead of simple connectivity, utilities today are seeking smart grid offers that incorporate advanced applications,” said Chris Hill, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. “Silver Spring’s Gen4 technology, combined with AT&T’s wireless network, will help address the wants and needs of energy providers, delivering faster speeds and better performance to millions of customers.”
“Radio mesh is a technology that is proven at scale through huge deployments across much of the world,” said Patrick Razavet, director of utilities and smart, Cable&Wireless Worldwide. “Mesh enables both the distributed intelligence and the much needed disruptive economics in the UK market that are suited to machine-to-machine applications such as smart metering and smart grids. Combining mesh with existing mobile networks provides a ‘best of both worlds’ proposition in terms of coverage, value, and future-proofing.”
Gen4 technology will extend the Smart Energy Platform’s transport options beyond RF mesh. Gen4’s modular architecture enables a single Communications Module to support a variety of international cellular transports, such as GPRS, CDMA, EVDO, HSPA and LTE, in conjunction with a proven, standards-based, high-speed RF mesh transport. Utilities may choose to deploy modules with cellular, mesh, or both transports. Silver Spring’s GridScape network management software provides cohesive management of the transport-independent, integrated IP network, and Silver Spring’s UtilityIQ application suite supports both cellular- and mesh-connected endpoints.
Silver Spring combines its support for cellular communications with a unique innovation – Micromesh software. A Silver Spring cellular Communications Module normally operates as an ordinary point to point cellular connection, supporting meter reading, remote connect/disconnect, and many other applications directly across public carrier networks to the endpoint. However, with the Micromesh software enabled, the Communications Module additionally connects to nearby grid devices via RF mesh and acts as their take-out point for the WAN. With this innovative combination, utilities can adapt the number of cellular connections they need based on topology, coverage, density, bandwidth requirements, pace of deployment, and many other complex project drivers.
“Our cellular devices include the full capabilities of a Silver Spring Communications Module,” said Raj Vaswani, CTO of Silver Spring. “Any one of them can support WAN connectivity on behalf of its neighbors, and as the number of connected grid devices grows and the mesh spreads, utilities can seamlessly migrate between blended network configurations as appropriate to their needs. The flexibility to mix and match transports dynamically, balancing technology availability, cost, reliability, coverage and performance needs, is imperative for the long lifecycle inherent in smart grid networks.”
Any Endpoint and Any Application
Featuring high processing power and increased memory, Gen4 will support the full range of emerging endpoints for the smart grid, including next-gen line sensors, renewables, and load-control switches. Gen4 Communications Modules continue to support communications options for in-home networking as well.
Gen4’s increased data rates, with support up to 300 kbps, enable the Silver Spring platform to support increasingly demanding smart grid applications. For example, the faster throughput and lower latency improves performance for protection and control applications where devices leverage peer-to-peer communications for split-second responses.
A unique gear-shifting capability in Gen4-based products allows devices to dynamically shift their speeds for backward compatibility and to automatically perform at the highest rates possible in varying circumstances.
Gen4 will be available in Access Points, Relays, Bridges, meters and a variety of other smart endpoints as the technology is incorporated into Silver Spring and partner devices.
About Silver Spring Networks
Silver Spring Networks is a leading smart grid networking platform technology and solutions provider. We have connected over 10 million homes and businesses throughout the world with the goal of achieving greater energy efficiency for the planet. Our innovative products enable utilities to gain efficiencies, integrate renewable energy sources and empower customers to monitor and manage energy consumption. Silver Spring Networks’ clients include Baltimore Gas & Electric, CitiPower & Powercor, Florida Power & Light, Jemena Electricity Networks Limited, Pacific Gas & Electric and Pepco Holdings, Inc. among others. For more information please visit www.silverspringnet.com.
Silver Spring Networks