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Electricity Network Uses WiMAX to Monitor Smart-Meters in Homes

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Canadian electricity network, Hydro One has contracted with Redline Communications to trial Redline's RedMAX 4C WiMAX solutions to enable communications to smart meters and other advanced electricity distribution technologies.

In keeping with the direction of the Province of Ontario, Hydro One Networks and Hydro One Brampton are working to install smart meters in the homes and small businesses of their combined 1.3 million customers by 2010. To date, the Company has installed almost 900,000 meters. Smart meters, when teamed with time-of-use-pricing, are a key part of building a culture of conservation across the province and achieving significant reductions in peak electricity demand through load shifting.

The Redline WiMAX solution is designed to enable remote meter reading as well as outage monitoring and will ultimately help operationalize a number of additional applications, including power distribution automation, power station/security monitoring, smart home applications, and remote work dispatch for field staff; increasing customer service and providing opportunity to reduce Hydro One's operational and maintenance costs.

Redline and Hydro One have completed testing of Redline's WiMAX solutions for the enablement of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in rural areas of the province near Barrie, Ontario.

Markham-based Redline employs more than 80 engineers focused on the delivery of WiMAX and broadband wireless solutions.

The broadband wireless network connecting the Hydro One Smart Meters is the first phase of the project consisting of a series of Redline WiMAX base stations that connect wirelessly to outdoor customer premise equipment (CPE). Data generated by the Smart Meters are backhauled over the network to Hydro One's Operations Centre.

"The demand for WiMAX technologies goes well beyond that of major telecommunications carriers," said Kevin Suitor, Vice President of Marketing, Redline Communications Inc. "With the advances we have made in our RedMAX products, we can provide the bandwidth, reliability and price points required for deployment in a range of vertical applications including smart metering and video surveillance."

"Smart Grid initiatives have been a prime focus for utility companies around the world as these organizations have been mandated to implement better ways to control, monitor and reduce energy consumption in their networks," added Suitor. "The Smart Metering is an important component of an effective Smart Grid project."

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