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Test & Measurement

Mu Chief: Smart Grid Isn't

3:40 PM -- Nothing is reliable until a test-and-measurement company like Mu Dynamics says it’s so, and Mu isn’t about to give its stamp of approval to the smart grid.

Mu has upgraded its testing tools to focus on what really happens to the network (any network) under duress (from any app), and what it has discovered in the case of the smart grid is cause for concern, according to CEO Dave Kresse. (See Mu Dynamics Evolves Testing for Real-World IP.)

In talking to a number of smart-grid companies, Kresse was surprised to learn that the primary concern among utilities is customer privacy and data as opposed to the reliability of the grid. That’s backwards, he says, because the grid is nowhere near reliable enough.

“It will take some major event to tell people they need to test more,” Kresse says. Until then, we might as well be buying survival kits.

Mu works with network operators, government agencies, and service providers on testing for network reliability. In this case, the vendor is talking primarily with the utilities and vendors selling into utilities, and less so the telcos looking to partner with them.

The responsibility for keeping the network up no matter what, however, will fall to whoever owns the network. That’s still a toss-up in most cases today, but it’s a market that many are interested in taking ownership of. (See AlcaLu Teams for US Smart Grid Deal, Verizon: Utilities Warming to Telecom Aid, Cisco Takes Energy Management to the Home, AT&T, Current Group Team on Smart Grid, Utility Tests White Spaces for Smart Grid, and Can Utilities & Telecom Team on Smart Grid?)

“If you are using the same connections to do power and deliver video and handheld and wireless, that sounds like a bad idea,” Kresse warns. “I don’t think the dedicated networks have been put through their paces.”

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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