Neoenergia invests in MPLS technology to modernize communication networks


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networks-communication-technology-mplsThe project aims at providing more quality and agility to data communication, preparing the group companies for the expansion of smart grids 

Innovation is key for Neoenergia​ to continue improving the services quality for its 14 million customers in five Brazilian states. In order to ensure reliability and security in an increasingly larger scenario of data transmission, as well as be prepared for the demand that will be generated by the expansion of smart grids, the company has just started an important project to modernize the communication network of its four concessionaires – Coelba (BA), Celpe(PE), Co​sern (RN) and Elek​tro (SP and MS). The technology to be adopted is MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching), a more efficient, multiservice data routing solution. 

“The digitalization of the network and the operation itself motivates the expansion of our own communication network using this technology, which can transport all kinds of services with low latency and high speed. The MPLS protocol is the most modern technology in data transport, and it will enable us to prepare our distributors for the management of the energy system in the DSO (Distribution System Operator) model, managing the electrical networks and new services to customers, besides allowing the integration of distributed generation and electric vehicles, for example", states the Smart Grids Superintendent at Neoenergia, Heron Fontana.

MPLS is different from traditional technologies in that it performs routing through labels, sending the data packets more efficiently. This technology reduces the need for processing and makes communication faster. It is a high availability, agile protocol, which can switch data between routes in up to 50 milliseconds, being therefore more suitable for the traffic of large volumes of data. Due to these advantages, it is currently used in the networks of the largest telephone operators in the country.

Other important benefits for Neoenergia to use this technology are its versatility and scalability. With MPLS, the whole existing infrastructure is optimized and can be used for applications on operational technology, that is, for electrical network and substation equipment, in addition to supporting corporate information technology applications.

“We will be able to become a service provider within the company, with different types of traffic and service quality. We will be able to add any traffic to meet the company's needs, such as monitoring substations or IoT (Internet of Things) applications. MPLS allows for a more efficient management of the communication network, with greater availability and agility, which results in higher quality of operation and provision of services to customers", explains the Telecommunications Supervisor at Neoenergia, Victor Aragão.

The technology also provides for more security in the transport of data in operational and corporate communications, as it enables the use of virtual private networks (VPN), that protect the communication between source and destination with encryption, thus ensuring data integrity. The traffic capacity when using MPLS can increase up to 10 times in relation to the protocols being currently used, going from 1 to 10 gigabits per second.

The Neoenergia project has an expected duration of three years and will start in two of its distributors in the Northeast. The first stage, which should be completed by the end of 2021, foresees the implementation of the technology at Celpe, in the stretch between Recife and Caruaru, in the Agreste region of Pernambuco, and also at Cosern, in the Metropolitan Area of Natal. Over the next phases, Coelba and Elektro will also benefit from the network's modernization.​

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