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How Wi-SUN will help Smart Cities in their Infrastructure, data security and scalability requirements

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By Chad Steider, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Silicon Labs

We are accustomed to Wi-Fi in our lives having a range of anywhere between 70 metres to the latest standard of even up to 250 metres. But with the extreme scaling up of technologies in smart cities, and the rising requirements for ubiquitous internet, such numbers will not meet the needs of growing cities and upcoming technological innovations. Now what if I told you the next move away from Wi-Fi and something better is already on the anvil of wide scale adoption, and will have a range of 4 Kms point to point?

Enter Wireless Smart Utility Network, or commonly known as Wi-SUN, a new standard in internet connectivity that is specifically designed to counter the traditional challenges of Wi-Fi in large scale deployment needs such as smart cities and large grids.

As per a recent report, the smart cities market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 25.8% from 2023 to 2030, and a large part of this growth rests on the deployment of secure and stable IoT, and Wi-Fi devices. Wi-SUN is the most popular mesh technology for smart cities and can be used for large-scale outdoor IoT wireless communication networks with applications such as smart street lighting, next generation solar, mass EV charging, smart metering, and other Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

So what challenges would Wi-SUN address to meet the rising infrastructure needs of smart cities?

To provide internet coverage over large areas, Wi-SUN offers a hybrid mesh technology that allows for longer total coverage distance, less energy utilisation, while increasing the bandwidth for each node. We are talking about coverage distances of up to 5 Kms.

While we sit at the cusp of the 5G wave, it is also crucial that setup times are minimal, as to allow for reduced deployment costs and faster penetration into tier 2 and 3 cities. Currently, street lighting is an essential aspect of urban infrastructure that helps to improve safety and security in cities. Wi-SUN will be a key enabler for optimizing the performance of smart city street lighting systems, making them more energy-efficient, cost-effective, and responsive to the needs of citizens.

For smart street lighting systems, Wi-SUN improves safety, provides better lighting management, and enables more efficient energy usage as it allows individual light fixtures to be remotely controlled and monitored.

Enhancing Data Security
Wi-SUN networks are fundamentally designed to be highly secure, using advanced encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect against unauthorized access and attacks. Wi-SUN employs industry-standard security protocols to protect data transmitted over the network. These security features include authentication and encryption protocols that ensure only authorized devices can access the network and that data transmitted over the network is secure and private.

By implementing appropriate security measures, Wi-SUN can help ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of healthcare records and utility consumption patterns in smart cities while minimizing the risk of cybersecurity threats.

Answering to the needs of sustainability
Wi-SUN enables smart city devices to be more energy-efficient, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the city. It also allows for better management of resources such as water and electricity, which helps cities to become more sustainable in the long term.

In addition to promoting renewable energy integration, Wi-SUN also enables demand response programs, which encourage consumers to adjust their energy consumption during times of peak demand to avoid overloading the grid. This can help prevent blackouts and reduce the need for additional power plants.

As we move forward, Wi-SUN will continue to act as a crucial component in smart cities, as it allows for efficient scalability, and better security. From connecting smart lighting systems, all the way to smart metering requirements, Wi-SUN is one of those technologies that silently works in the background to enable greater innovations in the ecosystem.

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