Connecting the modern grid: Agility is more important than ever

The modern grid should deliver agility, security, and regulatory compliance—and open new service business for you. To realise this, you’ll need a responsive two-way grid, that optimises voltage for big energy savings and automates fault isolation and recovery to reduce the number of customers affected by outages.

Building a responsive grid is a balancing act. A variety of intelligent grid devices need to be connected to the control center from generation, high and low voltage substations, distribution assets, and the service fleet.

Each device has various operational and technical requirements, and various protocol support and compliance needs – requiring you to balance their different access technologies.

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Often each new device comes with its own siloed network, adding cost and complexity to grid design. As no single vendor had been able to meet all the access, operational and technical requirements, organisations used multiple networks with different vendors. However, cobbled solutions like this are difficult to deploy, maintain and manage at scale – and as more assets connect to these networks, the threat surface expands even further.

To balance these requirements, operational systems need to be unified onto a single secure IP network. And who better to do this than the worldwide leader in IP networking.

Visit the Cisco IoT website and discover all Cisco IoT products and solutions.

Solving these significant challenges is what motivated the development of Cisco’s new portfolio, ‘Unite Your Edge‘.

This new portfolio is designed for harsh, industrial conditions, and takes the best of Cisco’s enterprise technology and our extensive industry knowledge base and brings it together into a portfolio purpose-built for your utility use cases. It’s modular, making it easily upgradeable in the future, and offers many valuable features including built-in cybersecurity, edge compute and support for SD-WAN.  

  • Cisco Catalyst® IR1101 Industrial Integrated Services Router is our most compact router, providing secure connectivity for mission-critical industrial use cases. It is well suited to renewable generation sites (Solar, wind), and low-voltage substation automation, as well as remote asset management for a variety of utility use cases. for a variety of utility use cases.
  •  Cisco Catalyst IR1800 Rugged Series Routers. For field teams, this high-performance rugged router integrates with the service fleet to provide high-bandwidth cellular backhaul and deliver valuable telemetry information to operations. These 5G cellular routers have a modular design and Wi-Fi 6 support. With high bandwidth and throughputs they enable you to power seamless experiences and drive efficiency.
  •  Cisco Catalyst IR8100 Heavy Duty Series Routers. Ready for the outdoors, the IR8100 Series is IP67 rated for dust and water protection and built for extreme temperatures; it goes wherever you need it to go, and it’s completely modular and upgradable, from 5G to future CPU, storage, and power-supply needs.
  • Cisco Catalyst IR8300 Rugged Series Router. For high-voltage substation automation, this ultra-high-performance router addresses both routing and switching needs as one of Cisco’s first industrial-grade, fully integrated switching and routing platforms. Enhanced security, including Cisco Unified Threat Defense and available Cyber Vision for Industrial Control System (ICS) visibility, brings zero trust to a whole new level. As a precision timing source, it keeps your assets in the field in sync, and its utility certified (IEEE1613 and IE61850) to help ensure compliance and reliability.
  •  Cisco IoT Gateways. Monitoring field equipment—like EV charging stations or backup batteries—decreases operational costs. Cisco IoT Gateways provide cloud-based management tools to make installation effort provide simple, essential connectivity for assets at mass-scale. They offer low upfront costs with an affordable monthly cloud subscription. The gateways take just a few minutes to deploy with minimal IT support. Day-0 setup is fast: Plug in and power on, with no staging required. 

With our new routing portfolio, you can have a united architecture across all your diverse edge use cases from HQ to the remote edges. The same rich functionality and robust security models across your entire business – from your campuses and branch offices to substations, on-the-go connected assets, and beyond.

Now utilities can securely connect their edge with the agility they need to reduce outages, integrate renewables to meet the latest compliance regulations – all while improving grid resiliency and efficiency. Want to learn more about the new routing portfolio?

Watch our Unite the Edge video below to see how we can help.


Author: Henry Teichert

Henry Teichert works in product marketing at Cisco, where he loves to show customers how technology can help solve their challenges. When he’s not talking about industrial networking, Henry enjoys driving electric cars and getting his very own recharge of  pour-over coffee.