Delivering on its CEO's April promise to get more aggressive about the $20 billion smart grid opportunity, Cisco is planning to release its first two purpose-built smart grid products.
Sanket Amberkar, senior director of Smart Grid Strategy for Cisco, said the Cisco Connected Grid Router 2010 (CGR 2010) and the Cisco Connected Grid Switch 2520 (CGS 2520) are focused on substations, where utility companies are adding capabilities to accommodate new reliability, security and data traffic needs associated with smart grid deployments.
One of the biggest challenges that utilities will face, he suggests, will be the sheer volume of data being generated by smart meters, which will require traffic prioritization. The new products were designed with the hostile environmental conditions (temperature, humidity and so on) of substations in mind, Amberkar says. The challenge that many utility companies face is that the existing equipment has been added in a haphazard fashion; Cisco proposes that they begin taking an architectural approach that considers substation networking equipment as part of their broader networking infrastructure.
The Cisco CGR 2010, due in July 2010, builds on the technology inherent in Cisco Integrated Services Routers. The series complies with IEC 61850-3 and IEEE1613 standards and also have security that complies with NERC guidelines. The Cisco CGS 2520, scheduled for an August release, builds on the Catalyst 2000 and 3000 series switching technology. It likewise incorporates the IEC 61850-3 and IEEE1613 standards. Both new lines offer pervasive security functions, which is a big message in Cisco's play to claim share in this market.
The video below features Cisco's Smart Grid General Manager Laura Ibsen, providing an overview of the company's strategic vision for the "connected grid":