Requiring a new communications solution to support and consolidate an AMI upgrade with their SCADA control, Navopache Electric Cooperative engaged MiMOMax Wireless to supply a high capacity network in locations without a microwave backbone in their New Mexico and Arizona service area.

 

Key challenges

With their existing AMI backhaul nearing end-of-life, Navopache Electric was looking for a vendor who could provide a private communications solution in 700MHz.  The new network would need to offer the bandwidth required to be able to manage both the AMI backhaul and mission critical SCADA communications simultaneously.

Furthermore, the solution would need to be designed to not only ensure Navopache Electric’s frequencies did not interfere with the adjacent spectrum owned by Salt River Project but to also be able to maintain high availability despite the challenges of mountainous terrain and tree cover.

 

Solution

Navopache Electric selected MiMOMax Wireless to provide a point-to-multipoint network based on the Tornado radio.  The solution was designed to provide reliable ethernet connectivity plus backhaul from both AMI collectors and their upgraded SCADA controllers.

One of the key priorities for Navopache Electric was to be able to prioritize serial traffic over Ethernet to ensure the availability of the SCADA network.  A past situation where a firmware upgrade was sent to several downstream devices over the Ethernet had caused the serial traffic to stop thereby disabling the organization’s SCADA network.  Prior to deployment, the utility ran a series of robust lab tests to ensure the ethernet ports could handle the level of SCADA traffic they were expecting.

 

Results

Utilizing in-house expertise in network engineering and coverage design, the MiMOMax team was able to mitigate both cross boundary and self-interference for Navopache Electric.  Combining this detailed design and testing with the in-built internal duplexers and sophisticated filtering of the Tornado radio resulted in superior performance for the whole network.

The high throughput rates and full duplex communications offered by the Tornado radio also allowed Navopache Electric to maintain their SCADA traffic without interruption.  “We’ve done tests with the MiMOMax Wireless radios where we have bombarded the Ethernet ports with traffic and have never seen even the smallest hiccup in the serial transmissions,” said Jeremy Hellman, Communication Electronics Technician at Navopache Electric Cooperative.

 


About Navopache Electric Cooperative

Location:  Eastern Arizona & Southwestern New Mexico

Industry: Electric utility

Services: Established in 1946, Navopache Electric has continually expanded from a few miles of power lines to now providing electricity to over 25,000 homes and businesses across a service area totaling almost 10,000 square miles.

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Our robust communication solutions are deployed across the globe in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations to support industrial infrastructure for Utility, Oil and Mining companies and to provide linking for Public Safety and Transport organisations. 

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