The benefits of upgrading to SmartGrid are simple: better reliability, better efficiency, and better control. But alas, the same can’t be said for its terminology. From AMS to AMR, the list of technical words seems never-ending. Cue the SmartGrid glossary. Covering the most commonly used terms, this handy list will help you keep on top of even the most confusing technical jargon.
1. SmartGrid: An electrical grid that's integrated with two-way communication networks. As well as sending electricity from a power plant to homes and offices, the SmartGrid also provides feedback to system operators regarding electrical use and power interruptions.
2. Smart Metering System: An electronic system that can digitally send information about consumption, as well as other metrics, to an energy supplier. When connected to a building automation system, a smart meter allows the building administrator to control ventilation, heating and air conditioning based on real-time energy costs.
3. AMS: The term Advanced Metering System is often used interchangeably with Smart Metering System. AMS includes meter reading, data transport, and data handling.
4. AMI: Advanced Meter Infrastructure. This is the communications part of the AMS system, which measures, collect, and analyzes energy usage. AMI communicates with metering devices, either on request or on a schedule.
5. AMR: Automated Meter Reading, the meter reading part of the AMS system. An AMR can be read remotely, meaning more reliable and accurate billing based on actual meter reads as opposed to estimates.
6. Meter: Electrical, water or gas meters, measure the amount of energy and water consumed by a home or a business. Traditional meters – or “dumb meters” – are mechanical and require users to manually take meter readings. Newer Smart Meters contains a processor to provide extra functionality in the meter.
7. Radio: The communication part of the Smart Meters, which is used to build the AMI network.
8. Concentrator: A concentrator is a radio with data aggregation and forwarding capabilities. The master node receives data from a certain number of slave nodes or repeater nodes. The concentrator then forwards data to a central server using backhaul infrastructures such as 4G or fiber.
9. Node: A communication device in the mesh network that is able to recognize and forward transmissions to other nodes. Nodes can have different roles such as “Master”, “Slave”, “Router” and “Repeater”.
- Master: A master node is a term used to represent a concentrator in a mesh network context.
- Slave: A slave node is a radio connected to a meter, transmitting the current meter values on request (pull) or at a given rate (push). In a true mesh network slaves can also forward meter values from neighboring slaves.
10. Router: A router node aggregates data from a large number of slave nodes before forwarding it to a master within range. This is used to increase data acquisition capacity and range of the network.
11. Repeater: An electronic device that receives a signal and then retransmits it. A repeater is used to extend the network range.
12. AMM: Advanced Meter Management. AMM manages smart meters and communication infrastructures.
13. MDM: Meter Data Management. MDM is a software system that performs long-term data storage and management for the vast quantities of data delivered by AMM.
14. HES: Head End System. HES consists of hardware and software that receives meter data from the AMI. These systems can perform data validation before sending the data available to other systems.