Dairyland Power using wireless data radios for distribution automation

Boulder, Colo., August 29, 2012 — FreeWave Technologies deployed wireless radios for La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power Cooperative, one of the area’s largest wholesale electric suppliers.

Dairyland uses FreeWave’s FGR-115 serial radios for a variety of distribution automation applications. It also uses FreeWave’s HTPlus radios for certain applications requiring more effective throughput. The cooperative serves more than 600,000 customers in a service area of 45,000 square miles.

Dairyland provides wholesale electricity to 25 member distribution cooperatives and 16 municipal utilities in four states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois).

When Dairyland first implemented FreeWave radios it deployed a small installation base of FGR-115 radios. Based on the performance of the initial deployment, a decision was then made to expand the FreeWave radio network.

After a distribution automation study comparing various types of communication technology that faced harsh weather conditions and line-of-sight challenges from hilly terrain, the robust and reliable data transmission provided by FreeWave helped Dairyland Power make its decision to continue using the FGR-115 exclusively in its distribution network.

FreeWave solutions are currently being used for a variety of distribution automation applications including AMI backhaul, transmission capacitor bank control, transmission line sectionalizing, and fault detection and isolation.

The FGR-115 is an early version of FreeWave’s current product, the FGR2-CE. FreeWave’s products are 100 percent backwards compatible, making customers’ investments secure. The FGR-115 offers real-time remote diagnostics and setup, transparent to network communications and versatility — a single radio can operate simultaneously as a master, a slave and as a repeater.

The quality and versatility of the FGR-115 has led to its use in locations ranging from Mount Everest and Antarctica to the Amazon rainforest. According to Graves, Dairyland has been especially pleased with the FGR-115’s link performance, single system integration and overall reliability.

The FreeWave HTPlus Ethernet radio is ideal for customers who need an industrial grade high-speed Ethernet radios that operate in harsh environments and noisy RF conditions. It delivers data at a rate of up to 867 Kbps and is an ideal radio for SCADA backhaul networks.

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