Cisco, Itron team on smart-grid networking

Networking giant Cisco Systems on Tuesday announced an agreement with Itron meter manufacturer to advance Internet communications protocol based on the grid.

The two companies will create a reference design for using the IPv6 network protocol to connect everything from people’s homes to power distribution equipment on the grid. That the reference design will be the basis for the equipment installed in smart meters, sensors and computer systems within the public services, Cisco executives said.

As part of the agreement, Itron will license and integrate Cisco’s IP technology in their meters and distribution of Cisco hardware as part of Itron smart implementations of the network.

At this point, communications on the grid is done with many proprietary protocols, but Itron and Cisco executives said they use IP, the Internet transport protocol, will accelerate the modernization of the grid.

“We believe the market will accelerate when the rules are in the market. We see it as a way to stimulate and expand the market, which ultimately benefits us all,” said Philip Mezey, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Itron.

The companies will develop a system that uses IP to neighborhood area networks, also called field networks, to bring smart metering data back to public services, said Paul De Martini, the head of intelligent network technology Cisco.

The reference design will also address a number of network-related applications, such as demand response, automation of power distribution equipment, energy storage management and distributed generation such as rooftop solar panels, he said.

major move by Cisco
Cisco has said it believes that a U.S. intelligence network $ 100 billion but has only released a few products so far, including a driver of energy management at home and routers and switches to substations.

While companies were vague on the details of the product and the time, the association is a much more important in the Cisco Intelligent Network, said Bob Goñi, an intelligent analyst of the research network Pike

The partnership with a manufacturer significantly meters committed to using IP for data transport opens the way for Cisco to provide a range of additional products, such as security and network management, he said.

“If they can sprinkle some of their own bits of intelligence as a widget software on different end devices (on the grill), gives Cisco a better opportunity to provide a comprehensive solution,” said Goñi. “The parallel with the enterprise computing space is fairly easy to draw.”

Itron has historically used the communications technology on the property of their meters, but have Cisco IP counsel as a partner to improve its credibility in the standards-based communications, said Goñi.