Com-Ed Supports Grid Modernization with Fiber Optic and PLTE Comm Network
Future Transmission and Distribution Grid Track
Date & Time
Wednesday, October 2, 2024, 2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Darren Tillman Jayson Shiau Gisela Sosa Thomas Flanagan

ComEd recognizes that a low latency, high bandwidth network is needed to achieve many of the clean energy goals that are enabled by grid modernization programs. In this session, use cases that reveal the benefits of high-speed communications when transmitting and receiving data will be presented. Initial network infrastructure designs focused on fiber optics, which led the development of ComEd’s patented EDRP (Expedited, Deterministic, Redundant, PON) and resulted in a robust and deterministic network that provides fast-failover redundancy to end devices. Speakers will discuss specific applications, including coordinating isolation of electric faults without disturbance to the rest of the grid, preserving reliable power quality to customers, and providing a platform for data analytics to drive important business decisions. While fiber is the foundation for ComEd’s advanced communications infrastructure, the journey to building an advanced communication infrastructure also takes into consideration a hybrid network consisting of Fiber Optics and PLTE for added network design flexibility. An Ericsson PLTE lab environment was established at ComEd’s Maywood Technical Center facility where an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) was installed along with 1 of 2 Radio Access Network (RAN) sites. Another RAN site was deployed in an outdoor location in Kent, Illinois. For the pilot testing, an experimental license was granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for US Band 8 at both locations and uses an FDD duplexing mode to provide 2 separate channels (uplink and downlink) each consisting of 1.4MHz bandwidth. For PLTE Lab testing, ComEd coordinated teams from Distribution Automation and Voltage Optimization to bring in utility equipment such as reclosers, capacitor banks, and voltage regulators which comprise many of the use-cases that an advanced communication infrastructure would be enabling. Test results show that PLTE can be integrated with fiber optics as a hybrid solution for utility applications. Overall, use cases were validated successfully, and lessons learned from the testing experience will help to pave the path forward as ComEd begins to adopt PLTE as a hybrid option for building out an advanced communication network infrastructure.