Press releases

Smart Grid / 19.08.2015

G3-PLC technology fit for the roll-out: Extensive pilot test completed successfully in the metropolitan cities of Berlin and Hamburg

devolo

devolo, Vattenfall Metering and the two network operators Stromnetz Berlin and Stromnetz Hamburg see positive results from their joint pilot test. The four companies tested G3 Powerline technology for WAN (wide area network) communication in the smart grid. For this test, five network areas in the two cities were equipped with 1,000 G3-PLC modems from devolo. This was the largest test of G3 Powerline technology to date. The use of the frequency band between 150 and 500 kHz has proven itself to be a key advantage. The G3-PLC modem 500k from devolo made an impressive showing in the crucial areas of bandwidth and network coverage. The partners also decided to continue joint development of the smart grid in the future.

Extensive pilot test: G3 Powerline communication for the smart grid

devolo AG‘s analysis of the joint pilot test, together with Vattenfall Metering GmbH and the two network operators Stromnetz Berlin GmbH and Stromnetz Hamburg GmbH, is showing positive results. The assessment focussed on data communication in a smart metering scenario. A total of 1,000 devolo G3-PLC modems were used in five network clusters in the Berlin and Hamburg distribution network. No other G3 PLC technology has undergone such comprehensive, hands-on testing in Germany to date.A realistic test of the G3-PLC network requires communication in accordance with BSI (the German Federal Office for Information Security) specifications. A data generator in the G3-PLC modem simulates the data traffic of an intelligent measurement system that features TLS encryption and transmits these IP data via the mains. This makes it possible to assess the performance of the G3-PLC network without using additional components, such as smart meter gateways with final standardisation, smart meters or back-end systems (GWA software).

Travelling through the network at 150 - 500 kHz

The objective of the pilot test was to examine the performance of G3-PLC modems under extreme conditions. For this purpose, a maximised configuration was mapped out in the test regions using intelligent measurement systems in order to generate the largest amount of network data traffic possible. G3-PLC modems met the stringent requirements for the requisite bandwidth. The frequency band between 150 and 500 kHz proved to be ideal for data transmission. Even once the maximised configuration was applied, there was sufficient bandwidth available to ensure the stable and reliable transmission of the volume of data. "Thanks to the high number of installed G3 modems in each network cluster, we were able to gain valuable experience that we would not have obtained from smaller field tests. These findings were incorporated into a firmware update that was immediately rolled out to the installed G3-PLC modems via remote access. This allowed us to immediately review the optimisations for their real-world suitability," explains Georg Offner, Head of SmartGrid Product Management at devolo.

Data transfer to every corner of the distribution network

The devolo G3-PLC modem 500k also made a very impressive showing in meeting the second important test criterion: network coverage. This criterion was tested extensively in sprawling sections of Berlin. The meter data were reliably transferred without any issues—from the unit meters on the top storey of a Berlin high-rise, along streets lined with houses, all the way to an underground transformer station. Repeaters were not needed in any of the network clusters. "The G3-PLC modem 500k has no problem transmitting data through buildings. However, stable WAN communication using wireless technologies would not have been possible due to the solid construction of the office complexes and shopping centres," explains Dr. Michael Koch, adding, "Through this extensive pilot test, devolo has demonstrated that G3-PLC technology in the frequency band of 150 to 500 kHz has the requisite bandwidth for smart metering. In addition, all of the metering points in the network cluster are accessible without repeaters, which saves network operators both time and money."

Testing the future together

Now that several network clusters in Berlin and Hamburg have been equipped with G3 Powerline WAN communication technology and the successful testing of widespread G3 PLC modem 500k use, the companies involved have decided to continue their close collaboration in the future. "This extensive pilot test provided us with valuable experience that will help us substantially with the upcoming roll-out. In the next test phase, we will focus on the use of real-world smart meter gateways and build on our successful collaboration with devolo," comments Jan-Philipp Blenk, Project Manager at Vattenfall Metering GmbH in Hamburg.

devolo at Metering Days 2015 in Fulda, Germany

Learn more about the extensive pilot test in Hamburg and Berlin and devolo‘s product portfolio. Visit us at Metering Days in Fulda, Germany from 22 to 23 September 2015. We look forward to speaking with you in person. Please schedule an appointment by sending an e-mail to smart@devolo.de.