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Full Spectrum Inc., developer of the FullMAX wide area network technology, has released a new version of its wireless communications software that supports the utility industry's IEC 61850 Generic Object Oriented Substation Event (GOOSE) protocol.

The protocol is designed to reduce the scope and impact of power outages by implementing instantaneous and intelligent switching decisions without human intervention. With IEC 61850 intelligent devices along the distribution grid, sensors can isolate faults and reroute power almost immediately.

To date, IEC 61850 has been deployed primarily at electric utility substations over high-capacity fiber connections. The challenge, Full Spectrum says, has been to operate the low-latency protocol over wireless infrastructure.

Full Spectrum's IEC 61850 wireless support includes custom compression and quality-of-service algorithms to address this challenge. Also, the software allows IEC 61850 to be pushed deep into the distribution electric grid, where wired infrastructure is not cost-effective to install and maintain, says the company.

Full Spectrum will first implement the upgraded software along a remote distribution line that serves commercial and industrial users, including a hospital complex. The rapid switching will help reduce the frequency of outages, which can be especially disruptive to medical facilities that maintain sophisticated and costly diagnostic and life support equipment, the company notes.

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