muNet has announced its new WebGate Broadband-Over-Powerline (BPL) HomePlug IP-based residential electric meter as the first in a series of models cost-optimized to support each broadband network type supported by its flagship WebGate and WebGate Mini IP Interface metering solutions. For utilities and others deploying BPL networks as part of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) projects, the WebGate BPL is a "Just Plug It In" solution.

Integrated under the glass of the Sensus iCON family of single-phase electric meters, the WebGate system acquires interval metering data, adds a time stamp, stores the data in non-volatile memory, and transfers the data via TCP/IP (HTTP) and XML protocols over the BPL broadband network. With its full two-way communications capability, the WebGate unit can provide "instant" reading and demand information. Further, the WebGate BPL-HomePlug model can be equipped with optional features to record data from water and gas meters via wireless connections, to control a 200 A power disconnect switch and to collect voltage measurements.

Compatible with muNet’s central office WebBot Central Control Software, the WebGate unit can also communicate with any software package that can issue standard HTTP queries and can process XML responses. High-speed Internet into the premises continues in parallel with the data connection to the WebGate unit, which itself requires only a small portion of the network bandwidth. Encryption protection for all incoming commands, including control commands, can be provided using 128-bit AES encryption.

Cost-optimization continues with models for each of the broadband networks supported by the original WebGate product, including HFC, FTTH, WiFi, and WAN/LAN Ethernet. muNet also provides auxiliary equipment for support and control of the broadband network, including solutions to power external home gateways, and to control of the distribution of network connectivity into the home. Also to follow are WebGate IP Interface models supporting WiMax and BPL via DS2.