Smart grid developer Trilliant announced that it purchased SkyPilot Networks yesterday in an attempt to future-proof the smart grid. SkyPilot, a broadband wireless company, delivers over 10-times the bandwidth of cellular networks at a lower cost. The company's long-range (over 10 miles) wireless mesh network add on to Trilliant's short-range SecureMesh networks that connect home smart meters and utilities.
According to Eric Miller, Trilliant's chief solutions officer, the speed and modular nature of SkyPilot's network will ensure that it is future-proof. "Think about how the Internet evolved," Miller said. "It was originally on dial-up. Then everyone wanted to look at pictures, and so on. It became impossible to use the Internet without having a broadband connection because the things people want to do are reliant on extra bandwidth. We see the same thing happening in the utility industry." A communications substation, for example, might want to install remote video surveillance. That requires extra bandwidth. 10 years from now, there could be a whole new set of communications options to consider.
As a result of its partnership with SkyPilot, Trilliant has drastically increased its networking capabilities. The company has already used its radio communications cards for smart meters and software for utilities to create wireless mesh networks between said meters and utilities. With SkyPilot's long-range ability, Trilliant—which already has contracts for over three million smart meters—can expand its reach into hard-to-access rural homes and pursue advanced networking applications. So while WiMax and WiFi offer faster bandwidth, SkyPilot's gear can make the smart grid global.
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