If you want to know how old a tree is, you count its rings. If you want to know how old a power distribution grid is, find its oldest component – it’s likely been there for decades.
In fact, many grid components go back farther than 50 years. Some of these original mission-critical pieces still work, and thanks to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, a key challenge in grid evolution is how to achieve interoperability. How do you incorporate tried-and-true technologies such as the RS-232 and RS-485 wired connectivity while continuing the transition to the latest Ethernet technologies and adopting wireless technologies such as Sub-1 GHz, Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi®? As the Internet of Things (IoT) in grid evolves, most of the underlying wired and wireless technologies necessary for creating a smart grid are well established. What’s needed is a framework to bring them all together.