Network Communications

RF Networking

Arc’s AMI RF network solution represents the culmination of years of real world experience out in the field.

Our RF mesh solution is a full two-way wireless communication system made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology.  The mesh network provides a means for transmitting data from smart meters to the back office platform through different nodes around blocked paths either topographically or by buildings.

A mesh network therefore offers enhanced reliability by virtue of the inherent redundancy.  All meters dynamically look for their best neighbours and use them to transmit data. Example: if radio A, acting to provide a path in the network for radio B failed (loss of power, RF obstruction, device failure etc), radio A would simply transmit its data via its next best alternate neighbour radio C.

It is this ‘self healing’ property that makes the RF mesh network so resilient.

In addition, multiple take out points (ToPs) are deployed within the network providing another level of redundancy at the backhaul layer. In the event of a ToP failure, data can be rerouted to next best alternative  ToP, so network performance is maximised.

As AMI uses a two-way network, multiple ToPs provide alternate routes for data delivered into the network.  This allows for higher throughput of data to the meters by distributing the delivery across all ToPs.

The mesh radios function in the public band operating a channel hopping algorithm to avoid contention.

An Arc network has

  • A flexible AMI network solution
    This allows a retailer to overcome environmental and market challenges to reach 100 percent connectivity with smart meters

  • True two-way communications between the smart meter and the meter data management system (MDMS) 
    This means that the AMI network investment will form the foundation of any future smart grid aspirations

  • Highly scalable
    The network's intelligent architecture preserves performance and reliability benchmarks as it grows to keep pace with increases in the customer base

  • Reliable and robust 
    It is self-healing and self-organising to overcome any single point of failure. Every node in the network turns into an intelligent participant in sending, receiving, and routing data.

  • Integrated intelligent recovery mechanisms with local data storage at both the nodes and the gateway ensures no data is lost, even in the event of a disruption to communications