EnergyAustralia has signed a new deal with Cisco for ruggedised switches and routing gear to beef up the networking power of the $100 million smart meter project.
The new communications gear, purpose built by Cisco for EnergyAustralia, will enable the utility to expand various trials around the smart grid project to include critical equipment monitoring, extra security, as well as improved mobile computing for field engineers. It will also enable the installation of additional surveillance equipment.
EnergyAustralia specifically requested the gear be rated to withstand hot, humid conditions of up to 65 degrees Celsius.
EnergyAustralia's managing director, George Maltabarow, said that the new equipment will give way to faster and previously "unimaginable" network monitoring capabilities.
"It gives us new ways to connect a range of devices inside substations, such as data loggers and [closed circuit television], at the same time as identify, isolate, diagnose and repair faults in a smarter, faster way," he said.
The deal will see up to 200 substations in the utilities network area kitted up with the new ruggedised network gear.
According to EnergyAustralia, the equipment will also enable the company to restore power to blacked out areas remotely.
Cisco's purpose-built gear comes with military-grade security encryption to satisfy the utility's need for secure communication across its network.
Cisco's contract with EnergyAustralia is set to run for three years, at a value of $7.5 million.
EnergyAustralia is spearheading the Smart Grid, Smart City project consortium, which aims to implement 50,000 smart meters across the Sydney and Hunter regions in New South Wales.