RALEIGH, N.C., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Elster (NYSE: ELT) today announced the release of the IP AxisLink™ platform, including the IP AxisLink integrated router/gatekeeper/gateway and IP AxisLink secure tunnel server. The IP AxisLink platform extends the reach of Elster's EnergyAxis® end-to-end Smart Grid solution by providing IP-enabled convergence between advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and distribution automation (DA) networks.
The IP AxisLink platform provides full Internet Protocol (IP)-based communication and interoperability with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), DA and outage management systems (OMS) to support a utility's existing infrastructure. The IP AxisLink router and IP AxisLink server empower utilities with greater flexibility and multi-technology options to integrate their Smart Grid deployments.
With support for TCP/IP, IPv4 and IPv6 communications, the IP AxisLink router is compatible with a variety of wide area (WAN) and local area (LAN) network options. This helps optimize Smart Grid investments by extending connectivity to DA devices through converged paths of access. The IP AxisLink router can also house the EA_Gatekeeper AMI LAN controller module, allowing utilities greater configuration options to meet specific geographic and communications infrastructure requirements.
AMI and DA Convergence
The IP AxisLink router provides parallel operations for converged AMI and DA communications. Access to DA control devices is managed using IP-based protocols over the EnergyAxis communications network, providing utilities with greater flexibility in selecting which devices may be addressed.
"The IP AxisLink platform leverages existing AMI communication infrastructure for DA connectivity at incremental cost by enabling key Smart Grid advantages such as conservation voltage reduction (CVR), integrated volt/VAR control (IVVC), fault detection and other valuable components of AMI-DA convergence," said David Hart, Ph.D., senior vice president of systems and products at Elster Solutions.
"Elster is the only company in the industry that is able to offer parallel communication pathways through IP via this multi-technology solution, providing utilities with multiple configuration options and flexibility in communications," Hart added.
Security by Design
The IP AxisLink platform is built with the same robust security features that Elster employs in all of its EnergyAxis-enabled components to protect a utility's investment, infrastructure and the privacy of Smart Meter data.
The device uses Elster's WAN interface card (WIC) for its WAN Communication, which adds security layers onto the utility's existing infrastructure. The IP AxisLink platform supports ANSI C12.22 for AMI communications and Secure Layer Transport (TLS) VPN tunneling for DA communications. As with other devices using the WIC communication modules, the IP AxisLink router has unique cryptographic keys, which EnergyAxis manages and secures across the system.
The IP AxisLink device and server offer advanced SCADA data path encryption and authentication mechanisms. The IP AxisLink server provides an IP routing function and serves as a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel server to the IP AxisLink devices.
Flexible Installation and Deployment
The IP AxisLink router is easily installed with EnergyAxis and seamlessly integrates with other system-enabled network devices. There are multiple options for installation, including integration within existing DA control cabinets or within a NEMA 4X-rated enclosure for mounting on utility poles or pad mount equipment. IP AxisLink routers housing the EA_Gatekeeper module allow utilities to avoid installing and maintaining separate communication equipment for AMI and DA at the same location for a uniquely converged solution.
Elster's EnergyAxis, a field-proven Smart Grid solution with more than 85 active deployments and five million endpoints across the globe, enables utilities to:
Realize operational efficiencies;
Conserve environmental and economic resources by reducing the losses in electricity, gas and water grids;
Reduce outages and improve outage response and repair time;
Improve customer service and consumer choice;
Implement demand response programs that can conserve resources and reduce costs, especially during periods of peak demand;
Provide real-time information to end consumers to allow them to better manage their energy consumption; and
Detect and reduce non-technical losses.
Elster (NYSE: ELT) is one of the world's largest electricity, gas and water measurement and control providers. Its offerings include distribution monitoring and control, advanced smart metering, demand response, networking and software solutions, and numerous related communications and services – key components for enabling consumer choice, operational efficiency and conservation. Its products and solutions are widely used by utilities in the traditional and emerging Smart Grid markets.
Elster has one of the most extensive installed revenue measurement bases in the world, with more than 200 million metering modules deployed over the course of the last 10 years. It sells its products and services in more than 130 countries across electricity, gas, water and multi-utility applications for residential, commercial and industrial, and transmission and distribution applications.