The world of utilities is undergoing a technology revolution – both threats and enablers – but the very thing that can deliver significant efficiencies and improved competitiveness is also the source of risks and threats.
The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Metering has enabled Gas, Water and Electricity companies to remotely monitor and manage their dispersed infrastructure in ways that they could only dream of just a few years ago.
At the same time, as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) organizations, they are also at constant risk from cyber threats, which could ultimately lead to catastrophic failures if an attack was successful.
While cellular technologies now offer a viable (and cheaper!) alternative to more traditional telecoms technologies used for infrastructure management for decades past, the lack of secure, reliable, point-to-point connectivity is also a risk.
With a highly-dispersed infrastructure, remote telemetry and SmartGrids are key to the efficient and successful operation of the SCADA systems that monitor and manage the infrastructure, so ensuring that communications are robust, reliable and secure is essential. Fortunately, a further benefit of cellular is that (most of the time) a communications failure does not leave the Operations Centre as blind as it has done in the past with an SDH/PDH network failure, but it still causes problems.
Malicious and illegal activity – whether Cyber, terrorist or plain criminal is also on the increase and the benefits of being able to position monitoring devices that provide 24/7 streaming data and even video are now easy, quick and cheap to install, but they all demand continuous and reliable bandwidth to be effective.
With this in mind, the key to successful operations must now include managing Radio Frequency spectrum as a critical resource because, without RF integrity, the ability to monitor and manage people, infrastructure, equipment and leakage is limited and network security is potentially compromised at every stage from Source to End User.
Historically, this has been prohibitively expensive or technically too complex and, at best, an operator would try to manage their own connected network, meaning that external interference (e.g. from 3-phase equipment), illegal transmission sources, legal sources on conflicting frequencies or poorly maintained/configured equipment could not be detected and operators had no idea what their coverage was like until field engineers were out of range and unable to communicate.
SigBASE from DGS has the unique ability to address these issues and much more!