The installation of wireless AMRs in very large quantities, however, will cause utility companies to increasingly focus on energy consumption of the RF links. RF transceivers based on Bluetooth or even Zigbee technology cannot meet the very low power budget needed by many AMR applications. It is therefore important that the lowest power solution for implementing wireless AMRs be chosen.

RFM’S LOWEST POWER SOLUTION FOR AMR

RF Monolithics, Inc. (RFM) provides the lowest power RF transceiver solution in the industry. RFM’s ultra low power radios can support 12-15 years of battery life and are currently being used in new and retrofit AMR systems.

RFM’s radio technology is based on a proprietary ‘Amplified Sequenced Hybrid’ (ASH) architecture that does not require the current-hungry UHF synthesizers and needs only 1/2 to 1/5th the receiver current used in other AMR radio technologies. RFM’s radio products integrate an RFIC with SAW filtering and frequency control devices in a single, self-shielding hybrid package, thus greatly reducing the need for external components and simplifying the RF design cycle. No external RF/IF filters, resonators or crystals are required and all critical interconnections are integrated.

MESH NETWORKED AMR

Utilities are now looking towards the integration of electric, water and gas AMR systems. Integrated systems with a single controller/interface will drastically reduce redundant costs by the shared use of the communications technology. AMR is also well suited for further expansion into the home automation market, where a single wireless control interface can centrally manage various home devices such as the electric/gas/water meters, major appliances, light switches, thermostat and more.

Low-power wireless mesh networking is ideal for these new integrated systems. The key to the success of mesh networked AMR systems will be ultra low power, real-time, self-configuring and self-healing wireless sensor nodes.

RFM’s ultra low power ASH radio products and the recently introduced integrated modules are a perfect fit for mesh-networked AMR systems. RFM products provide solutions with the lowest power consumption, excellent range and optimal receiver sensitivity, and position themselves ideally for designing robust wireless AMR systems.