Nokia has been selected by Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) to enhance the microwave communications network that supports a range of mission-critical services for the utility's power transmission and distribution grid.
The new network, based on packet microwave technology, is intended to support power delivery and reliability for KCP&L's more than 800,000 customers in and around Kansas City, Missouri as well as parts of neighbouring state of Kansas.
KCP&L is reinforcing its network using Nokia's Wavence microwave packet radio family of technologies (formerly known as the 9500 Microwave Packet Radio), which will enable the utility to support all of its grid control applications alongside its legacy data services using a single, converged network. This will simplify the management and operation of KCP&L's network today, while laying the groundwork for the introduction of emerging grid applications in the future. This is covered by a 10-year agreement to enable network expansions and upgrades.
The current deployment, covering 40 sites, is already underway and is to be completed before the end of 2017. A second phase consisting of 29 additional sites will follow shortly after.
Nokia's Wavence portfolio incorporates features specifically designed to address utilities’ unique needs, smoothing their transition from time division multiplexing (TDM) technology to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks. For the project, Nokia is introducing the latest microwave packet radio technology as an overlay to existing equipment. This approach will enable KCP&L to expand their bandwidth to support new IP-based applications without the need for new antenna infrastructure and without forcing a disruption of existing communications, reducing costs and facilitating a seamless, incremental migration from TDM to IP.
KCP&L's Melvin Sam Charuvilayil, supervisor network planning & engineering, said: "Nokia's microwave packet radio technology delivers the reliability and performance needed to support our current operations, while providing the scalability and flexibility to introduce new services in the future. 'Future Proof' can be an overused term, but the fact that we can easily transition all our TDM applications into the packet realm seamlessly, while supporting our latency-sensitive teleprotection traffic, is particularly appealing. We chose Nokia because of their commitment to the utility industry and because its solution portfolio incorporates microwave radio as a part of its end-to-end communications architecture for utilities. Nokia's Network Service Platform brings network management under one umbrella, simplifying our provisioning and troubleshooting processes across our IP/MPLS and microwave networks and helping us ensure reliable communications to support grid operations."
Kamal Ballout, head of the Global Energy Segment at Nokia, said: "Nokia understands the needs of power utilities like KCP&L, and has dedicated a great deal of effort to ensuring that our packet microwave technology can meet the requirements today, while preparing networks for the introduction of even more advanced technologies in the future."
Author: Sam Fenwick