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Enabling Critical Infrastructure in India With Wi-SUN FAN

Following our recent announcement that BIS, the national standards body of India, has adopted the Wi-SUN FAN specification as included in IEEE 2857-2021 as the national standard for India’s Critical Infrastructure RF Communication Networks including Smart Metering, Amarjeet Kumar, India Regional Coordinator for the Alliance discusses the opportunities for Wi-SUN to support the roll out of smart city and smart utilities projects in India.

 

A reliable communication system has always been the main challenges in rolling out smart metering, smart cities, and other critical infrastructure in India. In 2017, an initiative was taken by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to identify the major issues in the roll out of these types of projects.

One of the biggest roadblocks identified was a reliable, secure, and scalable last mile communication solution. A new committee (LITD28) was started within the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to create various standards, including those for a last mile communication protocol stack, which I am leading the efforts on.

As part of this activity, we have created a set of standards and adopted a series of IEEE and other standards including Wi-SUN FAN. Over the last five years we have seen a wider acceptance of Wi-SUN in India with a good number of local players either working on Wi-SUN FAN or looking for partners to equip them with it. I am encouraged by this.

There are a range of applications here that can make use of Wi-SUN FAN, including smart grids and smart electric meters, driven in part by India’s bid for energy independence and a greater focus on renewables. Power distribution companies can manage disruptive changes in the grid, especially as the use of solar energy, home automation systems, and electric vehicles grows.

While India has already installed 8.6 million smart meters, it is still very much in the early stages of rolling out the technology to all households in the country. With an ambitious target of deploying more than 250 million smart meters by 2025, it will be pivotal to the success of India’s smart cities. A wireless communications standard that can scale, while meeting interoperability, reliability, and security requirements is fundamental to this.

We are also seeing growing interest in the use of Wi-SUN FAN for other applications, including water and gas metering, smart streetlighting, and smart agriculture. We saw evidence of this at the recent India Smart Utility Week organized by the India Smart Grid Forum in New Delhi where Wi-SUN Alliance was a Silver Partner and exhibitor.

Phil and I spent the week meeting utilities, city authorities, device manufacturers and many more at a busy event, learning about the challenges they face and opportunities for Wi-SUN.

We also took part in the event’s excellent Global Lessons in Smart Metering sessions – with Phil on the Smart Metering Experiences from USA and Europe panel of experts, which included the Power Grid Corporation of India (Powergrid) and Tata Power-DDL, a joint venture between TATA Power and the Government of NCT of Delhi. I was involved in another on the Challenges Faced by DISCOMs, AMISPs and OEMs in India and New Services for Smart Meter Consumers, focusing on the challenges in smart meter rollout and network management, including issues like reliability, data security, and scalability, and the new services enabled by smart meters, like demand response and customized billing.

With the news that the BIS has adopted the Wi-SUN FAN specification widely picked up by the media – from energy publications to business newspapers – we’re excited to raise the Alliance’s profile to a wider group of audiences in India.

By bringing its global ecosystem to the market, Wi-SUN is not only helping global players manufacture in India and leverage the opportunities here, but also supporting local players who can look for opportunities in a global market.