Pennsylvania’s PPL Electric Utilities is deploying Alvarion’s BreezeMAX Extreme 3650 WiMAX solution as part of its smart grid communications network.

The communication network upgrade, enabled by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, constitutes the first phase of PPL’s smart grid project with initial coverage of more than 60,000 customers over 150 square miles in the company’s Harrisburg, Pennsylania, operating region. The utility’s smart grid project also includes deployment of a new distribution management system. Future phases that will expand coverage of distribution automation to its other operating regions across central and eastern Pennsylvania are being planned. PPL Electric Utilities serves more than 1.4 million customers.

“We are very pleased with the deployment progress of our next-generation smart grid communication network in our Harrisburg region around the state capital,” said Matthew Green, smart grid program manager, PPL Electric Utilities. “Alvarion’s standards-compliant wireless broadband products have helped us create a robust and secure communication infrastructure in our network. This project enables us to completely transform the electric distribution system and introduce efficient energy optimization and outage management techniques that will benefit our customers.”

PPL’s smart grid project involves system upgrades geared toward operational improvements and enhanced service reliability. This helps PPL reduce service interruption time by integrating their outage and distribution management systems and advanced metering infrastructure.

Alvarion’s solution is being deployed as part of an agreement with Alcatel-Lucent, which is also providing a high-speed fiber-optic communication infrastructure for the project and is ensuring end-to-end integration of these technologies on behalf of PPL.

“The new, state-of-the-art IP based broadband communication infrastructure will help PPL Electric Utilities achieve its objectives of network modernization and service improvements for its customers,” Kamal Ballout, Global Vice President Energy Systems Integration Division. “The success of this deployment lays the foundation for many more upcoming joint projects in the industry.

Alvarion offers standards-based as well as proprietary wireless broadband solutions in licensed, license-exempt and quasi-licensed frequencies for optimized smart grid connectivity and maximum return on infrastructure investments.