E-Steiermark are the fourth largest energy service company in Austria and for their Smart Metering rollout they looked to partner with a router technology company. They requested that a router be installed in their secondary substations throughout southern Austria which would aggregate data from many homes. This is an essential component of Smart Metering and helps achieve climate targets.
Discussion started in 2016 between E-Steiermark, Virtual Access (Part of the Westermo group since 2019) and Kapsch (Virtual Access’s partner in Austria) and a substation router model was chosen. Virtual Access already had extensive experience in deploying routers within private utility networks, and a management platform that eliminates most site visits. Another key factor was the ability of Virtual Access to work closely with E-Steiermark in deploying an IPv6 network, this is one of the first in Europe and future-proofs the smart grid as it continues to grow.
To date, over 3,000 routers have been deployed with a further 1,000 to be deployed in 2021. Virtual Access continues to work closely with Kapsch and E-Steiermark on future projects and requirements including LTE 450, a technology that allows smart grids to efficiently reach populations that are widely dispersed.
Substation router in its installed environment.
On October 30, 2019, Westermo acquired 100% of Virtual Access Limited, an Irish-based technology company specialising in wireless industrial routers and gateways, and managed connectivity services for customers in the utility, traffic management and telecommunications sectors. The main part of the Virtual Access product offer is sold and marketed through Westermo sales offices and distributors.
Carl de Bruin