Connect Blogs

First day impressions at UTC Region 6

UTC-03232015It was a busy first day at UTC’s Region 6 spring meeting, with network expansion and refreshes clearly on the minds of the attendees.

Many of the discussions I had with people stopping by related to addressing the pent-up demand identified during their network master planning process. Most of this involved transport and distribution network upgrades, with primary driving factors being:

  1. Aging communications infrastructure
  2. Regulatory requirements
  3. Increased bandwidth requirements
  4. Decreasing carrier support for traditional telephony services

Utilities also expect other benefits from network expansion, including resolving bandwidth issues and the ability to support future power and security applications. Integrating fiber transmission and distribution facilities with microwave will increase system reliability. This takes into account that reaching remote facilities with fiber routes alone would be cost prohibitive.

It is clear the convergence of cyber and physical has begun. What does this integration mean? It identifies the requirements to coordinate new and legacy security sensors, which will help address physical facility security embedded with the communications transport and distribution infrastructure. Historically, these facilities have been operated by multiple organizations within each utility.  But to meet increased regulatory and system reliability requirements, some companies are merging these services into telecommunications departments.

What’s ahead for day two?

The second day promises even more discussions of network and system topics. Many of these will  be addressed by a presenters scheduled to talk about regulatory issues, transport facility options, upper 700MHz A Block to provide broadband mobility, along with fixed telecom options. Homeland Security will share an update on programs, strategic goals and changes in the emergency communications environment. Then we’ll wrap up the day with an extended session on NERC/CIP Version 5 regulatory requirements.

About the author

Dan is our account executive in the Critical Infrastructure market and has more than 35 years of providing customer-driven technology and energy solutions to critical infrastructure operators in the United States and Canada. He focuses on critical intelligent infrastructure, from smart grids to communications connections, and how they are used as consumers become energy portfolio managers.