Gateways: The Heart of the Communications Infrastructure
- A vital part of active utility management is a well-functioning communications architecture. If there is a problem in the field, you will want to know about it. Regardless if communication is down – or maybe for that very reason.
A unique Amplex communication protocol ensures reliable and efficient delivery of data, configurations and commands between the server and the AmsCPU in the field, using wired or wireless carriers. The crucial element for this communication is the Gateway (AmsCPU, AmsCPU-IO or Squid).
In Amplex we do not just provide any gateway. Our gateway is a very sophisticated intelligent gateway. It not only works when connected to a central server, it also works independently. The intelligent independent capabilities secure the streetlight if the communication to the central server is temporarily out. We call it “distributed intelligence”.
To keep communication expenses at a minimum, the collected data is divided into communication classes that rate the importance of the information:
Essential data (e.g. alarms or system failures) is sent immediately using the best available communication type, regardless of the data price.
Other types of data (e.g. logged data) is sent when the best and least expensive communication method is available. Until it is sent, the data is stored locally on the AmsCPU.
With a unique middleware gateway, reliability is safeguarded in order to ensure that the AmsCPU is always available and ready to send and receive data. The modules have dynamic IP addresses, but through a sophisticated address allocation scheme, a fixed reference is assigned to each AmsCPU. With these features, Amplex ensures an extremely reliable communications infrastructure.
When new components are installed, they are automatically discovered and will establish communication with the rest of the system. A host of new functionalities will then be ready for configuration on the server.
Interface AMS modules ensure that the system can collect data from devices with a variety of interfaces. This includes several variations of DLMS, Euridis, Mbus, Severn Trent and ModBus. The Amplex solutions are easily extended to collect data from other data types, including those with proprietary interfaces.
Once the data is collected, it is crucial that the system is able to generate relevant and useful information of the system status. With a trigger and alarm management system, pre-configured conditions can be detected and reported to the central server. This enables the operator to take immediate action in case of a critical event.
The illustration shows the process from data collection through local and wide area communication until the data reaches its final destination at the central server.