Silicon Valley Power uses AMI communication network to provide free public Wi-Fi

Silicon Valley Power, the city of Santa Clara, California’s municipal electric utility, opened its Tropos field area communications network to provide free public outdoor Wi-Fi access throughout its service territory.

The network, based on technology and products from ABB‘s Tropos wireless communication systems, was initially installed to provide communications for SVP’s smart grid program, SVP MeterConnect. It is the company’s first automated metering infrastructure (AMI) network to support free citywide public Wi-Fi access.

SVP built their wireless network using equipment and software from Tropos Networks, which was subsequently acquired by ABB. More than 1,000 customers in over 50 countries around the world have deployed networks from Tropos.

Using patented cognitive radio technologies to ensure operation in unlicensed spectrum, Tropos networks deployed in similar situations can provide more than 1 TB per day in aggregate user data transfer to an ever increasing number of Wi-Fi enabled consumer devices from smart phones to personal tablets.

The SVP MeterConnect program includes the Tropos field area communications network and an AMI system. In addition to supporting AMI and public Wi-Fi access, SVP plans to eventually use the Tropos network to support additional smart grid applications, including distribution automation and mobile workers. In the future, the city plans to use the same network to provide mobile access for municipal field workers (public safety, building and fire inspectors, parks and recreation, and more), reducing operational costs versus cellular cards and delivering greater bandwidth.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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