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Reliable fiber-wireless access networks: Less an end than a means to an end

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1 Author(s)
Martin Maier ; Optical Zeitgeist Laboratory, INRS, 800, Gauchetière West, suite 6900, Montréal, QC, H5A 1K6, Canada

In coming years, broadband access networks are expected to undergo a couple of paradigm shifts. First, copper will play a less important role and eventually give way to bimodal fiber-wireless (FiWi) access networks. Second, broadband access networks will become less an end in itself than a means to an end by exploiting them not only for telecommunications per se but also other relevant economic sectors of the future low carbon society. Despite recent research activities demonstrating that both fiber and wireless media might be also used to transfer small amounts of energy over limited distances, it is anticipated that fiber and wireless technologies represent the two remaining complementary building blocks of future converged communications networks, while copper remains the energy (but not necessarily data) transmission medium of choice in future smart power grids. In this paper, we explore ways of using dependent FiWi access networks to enable or enhance the dependability of other critical infrastructures of today's society, most notably the future smart power grid. After discussing the respective pros and cons of a variety of available access networking technologies, we elaborate on the rationale behind the design choices of our Über-FiWi network and showcase its suitability as a holistic end-to-end smart grid communications infrastructure for next-generation power distribution networks via illustrative experimental and co-simulation studies on emulated power blackouts during a security breach and coordinated plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging without a deviated voltage profile and deteriorated power quality.

Published in:

Design of Reliable Communication Networks (DRCN), 2013 9th International Conference on the

Date of Conference:

4-7 March 2013