Transmission Telecom Modernization Project Results in Reduced Costs and Improved Operational Capabilities

Male engineer working on power plant with laptop

Actalent's engineering team designs telecommunication upgrades to increase bandwidth and support growth.

Client Profile

Our client is a utility provider in the mid-Atlantic United States.

The Challenge

Our client initiated a five-year project to modernize the telecommunication service it used to monitor and control 54 transmission substations in the mid-Atlantic region. They needed to increase their bandwidth to meet consumer demands and support growing corporate, security, and general network traffic. Our client also aimed to develop connection redundancy and reduce costs by relocating traffic from leased circuits and cellular connections to a private network.

The Actalent Approach

Actalent’s telecom team was assigned to address our client’s needs. The team first met with client managers to determine goals, priorities, and project scope. Because this project served the needs of many stakeholders (Transmission Line, Substations, Protection & Controls), we had to comply with various sets of requirements. The work also required collaboration with the client’s six telecom teams: planning, design, transport, network engineering, network ops, and fiber construction.

Our team examined past connectivity issues to identify causes and solutions that would meet the client’s future needs. They also researched current and future projects to determine those project’s effects on the telecommunication network. Additionally, we identified projects that could benefit from and incorporate telecom enhancements, thereby reducing future costs and expediting project schedules.

Actalent planned diverse connectivity to 138 kV and higher stations. This setup had two, physically separated fiber cable connections to ensure that a fiber cut on one cable did not cause a communication outage for an entire substation.

Due to the forested and mountainous terrain of our client’s service territory, our team had to investigate how the terrain would influence ideal paths.

The Results

Actalent’s telecom team completed work in four areas. The telecom planning team’s extensive research resulted in a solution that defined project cost, required hours, and network design. The team planned a total of 362 miles for this project.

Our network engineering/operations team ensured that all configuration files and operating systems were up-to-date and met security standards. They also updated standard configuration files with IP addresses and other information, uploaded the files, and verified the correct operations on devices. The telecom design team created Bills of Materials (BOMs) and engineering drawings to guide routing and splicing, SCADA one-lines, and tower sites (civil, structural, electrical). The fiber construction team created bid packages and oversaw fiber installation.

As a result of our team’s extensive research and work, our client was able to reduce leased line costs while improving its overall operational capabilities.

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