Wireless player plays up smart grid security theme

Wireless player plays security angle in smart grid deployments.

Tropos Networks, a 10-year-old company with roots in the public safety sector, is touting the reliance and security of its technology as a solution for smart grid communications.

One key to that message is the recent FIPS 140-2 certification the company received for its entire line of outdoor wireless products. FIPS stands for the Federal Information Processing Standard, and FIPS 140-2 will be critical for smart grid projects and smart city projects that require the sort of cyber-security demanded by government agencies. According to Tropos, it is a more mature standard that the NERC CIP and AMI-SEC specifications that are currently under development.

"We think the work we have done with FIPS is very applicable to the smart grid space," says Narasimha Chari, fo-founder and CTO of Tropos. "The reliable delivery of electricity is viewed as a critical resource."

There are, of course, many companies vying for a piece of the smart grid communications market. Aside from its security message, Tropos positions its long background in municipal government as an advantage in deployments. Chari says Tropos' wireless IP broadband mesh technologies will serve as a complement to other emerging metro wireless networking options, such as Wimax. Where Tropos really shines is in urban surburban environments.

Tropos is getting a public battle test of its technology right now at the winter Olympics in Vancouver: The network is being used to monitor the on-time performance of 80 public transit buses run by TransLink. Tropos is the communications component of the Transit Signal Priority system, TransPOD, that is being used by the city.

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