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Industrial Ethernet provider signs 5 partners in smart grid push

Climate controlled data centers are one thing, electrical substations thousands of miles from nowhere in hostile climates are another matter entirely. Which means the usual suspects might not, in reality, be the best suspects.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Climate controlled data centers are one thing, electrical substations thousands of miles from nowhere in hostile climates are another matter entirely. Which means the usual suspects might not, in reality, be the best suspects.

That's why Sixnet, a maker of industrial-strength Ethernet switches, is pushing hard to become a player in the burgeoning smart grid and utility industry segments. The latest evidence comes in the form of new partnerships with key utility technology providers including Avcom, D'Ewart, Equal Electric, Wrathall and Krusi, and Young Power.

I spoke with Mahesh Patel, director of the wireless division for Sixnet, and Scott Killian, director of the connectivity division, a number of weeks ago when the company made another announcement that was key in its smart grid aspirations: the company's EL228 industrial Ethernet switches were blessed with a KEMA approval (which is a testing and certification particularly relevant to power and energy providers) for environmental (it can deal with tough weather conditions and extreme temperatures) and redundancy requirements including IEC61850 and IEEE1613. That means Sixnet's technology gets the nod as an option for substation modernization projects and smart grid deployments. The switches also include advanced cyber-security features to protect against unauthorized access.

Patel says Sixnet's main value proposition is its ability to provide connectivity between remote sites and central substations. "Often, these substations are in the middle of nowhere, so the conditions aren't that great," he says. Sixnet uses cellular backhaul where this connectivity option is the only relevant choice.

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