Smart Grid

February 28, 2013

Airspan Helps UK's FALCON Smart Grid Project Get Off the Ground

Boca Raton, Florida-based Airspan Networks Inc., a provider of 4G broadband wireless access networks, has been selected by Western Power Distribution (WPD) to participate in a U.K. government-funded smart grid pilot in a suburb northwest of London.

Western Power Distribution comprises four electric utilities that serve about 7.7 million ratepayers throughout England and Wales. The company received the equivalent of $19 million for its FALCON (Flexible Approaches for Low-Carbon Optimized Networks) project, which will be implemented in the Village of Milton Keynes.

The objective is to test “smart” interventions on the HV (high-voltage) network and innovative commercial arrangements with customers, in order to develop an investment tool to model where these techniques can be deployed efficiently across the whole grid.

Airspan’s (News - Alert) compact picocell  base station – typically used to provide coverage and capacity in areas difficult or expensive to reach using the more conventional macrocell approach – will be used to provide secure, high-bandwidth wireless connections between primary and secondary power grid sub-stations in and around Milton Keynes.

The company’s AirSynergy 2000 picocell base stations will provide WiGRID M2M access with integrated iBridge wireless backhaul. Airspan also is providing network design and professional services.

Barrie Stephens, infrastructure manager for the Surf Telecoms division of WPD, said, “Being able to develop a robust telecommunication network is a critical element in our strategy—especially given the forecasted uptake in low-carbon technologies such as electric cars, heat pumps, and solar panels. Airspan’s compact, low-power base station technology is an ideal complement to the energy saving technologies for which this pilot will pave the way.”

Said Paul Trubridge, Airspan vice president of Product Management, “AirSynergy 2000’s high performance and compliance with WiGRID profiles will enable deployment of a smart grid solution that meets WPD’s security and network integration needs. The pilot deployment in Milton Keynes serves as a blueprint for the smart grid telecommunications network model in Europe and beyond.”

The compact design of AirSynergy 2000 ensures discrete deployments in various locations, such as lamp posts, utility poles and building fronts. Most unique to the product is its integrated wireless backhaul capability, called iBridge, and the ability to self-configure, self-connect, self-heal and self-optimize when deployed.

Edited by Braden Becker