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Comment Re:What about... (Score 1) 170

Beyond the storage requirement (which I believe you're seriously underestimating), no AMI system in the US has the bandwidth to handle that kind of traffic. Most of them use unlicensed spectrum in the 902-928MHz band (FCC Part 15 rules) going peer to peer until they get to a bigger pipe for the back haul. The networks simply aren't designed to handle that much data. Remember, you're talking about 1,800 data points per hour per meter. I know for a fact we can't ramp up for that, and I know for a fact that the three technologies used by most of the utilities in the US (Landis+Gyr Gridstream, Itron Openway, and SilverSpring Networks) can't handle it, either.

Comment There's no way this is right (Score 3, Informative) 170

I work for a large utility that is currently implementing an AMI system. I can tell you from first hand knowledge that no utility gets (or wants) usage data from its customers every 2 seconds. At my utility we collect usage in 1 hour bins for residential customers and 15 minute bins for commercial and industrial customers. The amount of database storage we would need to collect 2 second interval data from all of our customers would be staggering. As it is we've had to invest in a large server farm to handle the data we are getting.

If I had to guess I'd say that the 2 second intervals are for in-home monitoring using a ZigBee HAN, or something similar (the EasyMeter website is in German and does not appear to have much technical info).

Comment I've never understood (Score 3, Interesting) 97

As someone who has worked on distribution automation for a large electric utility for the past 13 years, I've never understood the fascination with the cyber aspect of securing the grid. It would be far easier to cause a major outage with a 4x4 truck and a few pounds of high explosive, yet I don't recall a single attack of any type against a transmission tower anywhere in the U.S.. As for intercepting and deciphering meter data (a truly non-trivial task), it would be far easier for thieves to simply watch the houses in a given neighborhood, a la Home Alone.

The residential meters do have disconnect capability, but by design this functionality ignores broadcasts. Therefore a hacker could only affect a single residence at a time, and even then only if they knew the encrypted disconnect command. An insider attack is the only real threat, and that is not addressed here.

Comment Re:Gung ho (Score 2, Interesting) 534

To second your post, my best friend is a Major in the Marine Corps (F-18 pilot). He has an engineering degree from Penn and is one of the smartest, most dedicated people I know. His roommate (also a Major and F-18 pilot) has a bachelors and masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. Sure, some dumbass people manage to climb up the ladder, but most of the people at that rank and above are pretty darn sharp.

Comment Re:Why the sudden outrage? (Score 1) 555

The sudden outrage is because they're finally selling a device that might actually use that much. I have a Blackberry and an iPhone. The Blackberry is far too painful to use on any kind of media that I'll never come anywhere near the limit. The iPhone, on the other hand, has tremendous internet uses and I could easily see users coming close to the limit.

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