EnergyAustralia rolls out WiMAX over smart grid

EnergyAustralia uses $10 million WBA network to transmit information between 12,000 devices

EnergyAustralia has announced the rollout of a 4G wireless network across its smart grid. The two-way network will be used to transmit crucial information between field devices, back-end systems and households.

The carrier grade WiMAX technology for the network was selected after a successful trial at six sites in the greater Newcastle area, and two sites in Sydney.

The new 4G network will use the 15MHz slice of 2.3 GHz spectrum that EnergyAustralia purchased from Wireless Broadband Australia (WBA) for $10 million and will support the 12,000 smart monitoring devices that the company has installed in the electricity grid, alongside 3,000 mobile field computers as well as 200 major zone substations.

EnergyAustralia managing director, George Maltabarow, said the network would allow "faster responses to power outages, support potential changes in the grid from renewable energy and electric vehicles, and will give households more information and control over their appliances and energy use".

The company also trialled RF Mesh and Powerline technology, but ultimately determined that WiMAX was the best option for its smart grid program.

Sites for the proposed network have already been established at Gan Gan Hill at Nelson Bay, as well as at Broadmeadow, Merewether, Mayfield West, The Hill, Wallsend, Lidcombe and Homebush. EnergyAustralia plans to roll out the network progressively over the next 18 months with the next sites being substations located in Lane Cove, Leightonfield, Bass Hill and Meadowbank.

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