Why ISM?

Why on earth is the Energy Industry choosing 2.4GHz to run the new AMI infrastructure? It is already cluttered (WiFi, Bluetooth, legacy systems), is sub optimal for long life battery powered devices, and the multipath effects are stronger

Anywhere would be much better: at 433MHz batteries last 6 times longer. And it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, an ISM band. Why not allocate (that’s a technical term that means dedicate) say 8 MHz from the space left by analog TV? This would reduce interference and improve noise floors. It would make a meaningful difference to say water meters: a battery could last a couple of decades. This “choice” in fact has not been a choice at all; the amateurs that “advise” and “consult” on these issues are simply unaware of the options, or indeed the consequences of the path they have recommended (Zigbee is wonderfull for everything). There has never been a discussion paper canvassing the various options and I have never heard the “allocated” option even verbally explored.

Maybe it’s because the energy companies and government don’t employ any real developers? Telstra traditionally would have played a behind-the-scenes role, in the interest of common decency. But it probably no longer gives a damn – doesn’t affect their bottom line, right?

It’s not as if a miserable 8 MHz is going to make the slightest difference to the one-off revenue bonanza available to government in the spectrum auction.

The only coherent technological voice is zigbee.org and their technology is committed to 2.4GHz regardless. Driven by the same kind of community-defeating short-termism in other parts of the US which allows the propagation of femto cells to “improve” a lousy mobile phone system. These things are driving up the noise floor and ruining the whole GSM environment for everybody.

Thank goodness that at least Telstra’s self-interest is at work here in Australia and femto cells are outlawed.

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