Our ‘wide area network’ already reaches 99.3% of all premises in Britain and stretches tens of thousands of square miles; but at the level of the individual household or small business, we face a technological hurdle - the ‘home area network’ - which can be surprisingly complex, depending on the type of building.
In every home on our network there’s something similar to a broadband router (we call it a communications hub) which connects devices in the home, such as smart meters and in-home displays, to our wider national network. These devices work together to take energy readings and send them wirelessly across the secure DCC network to your energy supplier.
The communications hub connects these devices with a technology very similar to wi-fi and it has a similar wireless range.
As with wi-fi, the greatest enemy is often thick walls and long distances – single band smart meters experience the same challenges. So, we’ve developed a different type of communications hub that’s able to increase the reception in the home.
This new communications hub uses a different radio frequency designed to pass through thick walls more effectively; and in some tests it travels up to three times further than the standard single band. Meters that have this new technology are called ‘dual band’, meaning they have both the old radio band and the new, alternative one.
Not every home needs dual band technology, but it’s estimated to unlock another 25% of premises, which were previously ineligible for smart meters.
Energy suppliers are installing these dual band communications hubs in homes across Britain today, allowing more people than ever to get a smart meter. The data from those meters, in turn, helps the grid make the best possible use of renewables... so less need for power derived from fossil fuels.
For a more visual explanation of this new technology, please check out this video.
Even more innovative technology will be needed to connect that last couple of percent of properties, and the DCC and its partners are working on this today. We believe in making Britain more connected, so we can all lead smarter greener lives.
Chief Operating Officer