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PPC Launches LTE-BPL Headend 4R to Enable BPL and LTE Communications for Utilities and Meter Manufacturers

Quick Facts

Company

Power Plus Communications (PPC)
ppc-ag.de

Customer Profile

Founded in 2001, Power Plus Communications (PPC) is a pioneer of broadband powerline (BPL) technology. PPC was the first company to gain certification for its smart meter gateway – a device to collect and protect smart meter data. The company has deep knowledge and expertise based on a portfolio of successful projects carried out in close partnership with world-renowned meter manufacturers, utilities and distribution network operators. PPC’s BPL systems are in operation in power networks throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Objectives

Launch a new product that would enable both Broadband Powerline and LTE communications for utilities and meter manufacturers.

Results
  • Provides reliable communications capability for equipment located in underserved areas
  • Product development cycle compressed with Linux distribution framework and Sierra Wireless engineering support
  • Small footprint delivered with combined processor and module
Sierra Wireless Products & Services
  • LTE-BPL Headend 4R with Sierra Wireless WP Series module

Introduction

Founded in 2001, Power Plus Communications (PPC) is a pioneer of broadband powerline (BPL) technology with an outstanding record of innovation in communications technologies for smart metering and smart grids. PPC was the first company to gain certification for its smart meter gateway – a device that collects and protects smart meter data.

The company has deep knowledge and expertise based on a portfolio of successful projects carried out in close partnership with world-renowned meter manufacturers, utilities and distribution network operators. PPC’s BPL systems are in operation in power networks throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Challenge

Utilities and network operators are continuing their efforts to improve and connect their infrastructure to create smart grids – an expensive challenge in organizations that are extremely capital intensive and home to a myriad of legacy equipment.

Digitalization calls for the integration of connected devices and technologies into existing infrastructure. A critical component is the communications technology for data transmission. Where signal reception is poor, as in the case of devices in the basement of a building or part of a shielded installation, communications can be compromised.

Smart-Grid

With the WP module and Legato, Sierra Wireless has combined the processor and module functionalities in one device. Because of this, we can satisfy our customer’s needs with a single product solution in a smaller footprint.

Christian Freudenmann,
Senior Product Manager, Wireless M2M Solutions, PPC

Solution

To address this challenge, hybrid solutions are needed. Broadband powerline (BPL) technology complements cellular communications to enable efficient data transmission. Hard-to-reach devices are connected to IP-based (IPv4/v6) BPL modems. Alternately, sensors can be connected via serial interfaces (e.g. W-M-Bus or RS485 readout).

For the wireless component of the LTE-BPL Headend, PPC explored options with a variety of vendors and selected the WP Series modules from Sierra Wireless, which combines LTE functionality, a processor and a Linux® distribution framework (Legato®). Combining a Sierra Wireless module with PPC’s BPL technology in a single device, the LTE-BPL Headend, PPC has developed a hybrid solution that uses the combined power of both technologies to achieve reliable broadband data transmission, even in the most challenging environments. Devices, like smart meters, are connected to the LTE network via the BPL network. The final LTE connection takes place where good reception is available – elsewhere in a building, in the street or in a transformer station.

Results

With Legato®, PPC was able to port an existing design to the new product, which significantly reduced development time. The resulting LTE-BPL Headend 4R is unique in the market and can be customized to use either IPv4 or IPv6 connectivity. It is compact, easy to install and configure and competitively priced. In addition, it will enable new applications for PPC’s customers.

The utility can install the LTE-BPL Headend in street cabinets or similar environments to consolidate information from multiple IoT devices via BPL, then send that data in a secure manner via LTE to its servers.

“With the Sierra Wireless WP Series module, we have the processor and module functionality combined in a single device. Now we can satisfy our customer’s needs with a single product in a smaller footprint. The WP Series module with embedded application framework, combined with the support we got from Sierra Wireless, helped us to bring this unique product to market quickly,” said Christian Freudenmann, Senior Product Manager, Wireless M2M Solutions at PPC.

The new PPC LTE-BPL Headend 4R is being launched now in Europe with the first 120 units sold to one of the three largest German energy suppliers.

PPC is now developing an additional variant of the product which includes sensors. The Sensor LTE-BPL Headend 4RQ will give customers the option to measure voltage. In addition to the voltage, phase differences and the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) can also be recorded. Based on this data, network states can be continuously recorded and analyzed.

The WP module we got from Sierra Wireless, with embedded application framework and technical support, helped us to use an integrated solution and bring this unique product to market quickly.

Christian Freudenmann,
Senior Product Manager, Wireless M2M Solutions, PPC

Related Products

Tagged Industries
Smart Cities Utilities
Client

Power Plus Communications (PPC)

Location

EMEA
Germany

Markets

Smart City
Smart Grid
Smart Metering
Utilities

Products & Service​

Embedded Modules
WP Series module

Contact Us

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By checking this box, you consent to receive commercial electronic messages from Sierra Wireless, Inc. and Sierra Wireless group of companies such as newsletters, event invitations, promotional and educational content, product updates, transaction-related emails, and customer service emails, in accordance with our privacy policy. We may be reached by email at connect@sierrawireless.com or by mail: contact us. You may withdraw your consent at any time.
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By checking this box, you consent to receive commercial electronic messages from Sierra Wireless, Inc. and Sierra Wireless group companies such as newsletters, event invitations, promotional and educational content, product updates, transaction-related emails, and customer service emails, in accordance with our privacy policy. We may be reached by email at connect@sierrawireless.com or by mail: contact us. You may withdraw your consent at any time.
By checking this box, you consent to receive commercial electronic messages from Sierra Wireless, Inc. and Sierra Wireless group of companies such as newsletters, event invitations, promotional and educational content, product updates, transaction-related emails, and customer service emails, in accordance with our privacy policy. We may be reached by email at connect@sierrawireless.com or by mail: contact us. You may withdraw your consent at any time.
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