Boom. Silently and instantly the lights go out over a large section of the city.
But this city has a smart grid, so all the devices send the message that their particular power line is out–all at the same time. Like a stampede of raging water buffalo in the African savannah messages come pouring in to their respective access points.
Two scenarios can emerge here.
Scenario 1: Epic Fail
The first scenario is what would happen with no network congestion management and last gasp capabilities. The devices battle each other for capacity on the network. Each AP can only handle so many devices transmitting at once. The unprepared network stutters, sputters, and stops. It simply ceases to function. Right when the supposed ‘smart grid’ network is needed most, it fails. It fails not only the company that expected a smart grid, but it fails the thousands to millions of people now without power. Epic smart grid fail.
Scenario 1 is the story with many LPWA and mesh solutions. And cellular solutions are poor candidates for these kinds of applications in the first place. The devices used are often hard to access and need very long battery life to be economical. Cellular simply doesn’t meet those criteria.
Scenario 2: Epic Heroics
In scenario two, the utility uses RPMA to power their smart grid, either on the Machine Network, or in its own private network. This time the devices still report at the same time, but the network manages the traffic in such a way that all the message arrive in a timely and organized fashion. Like well-behaved pupils marching in to class, the messages arrive and pass along their content. In this scenario the city knows where the outages occurred and can address the outages in a fast and organized fashion. The lights come back on, the people rejoice, and the city sleeps with pleasant dreams.
RPMA’s network congestion management makes it so that the messages that devices send are there when they are needed most, like when “flood events” occur, such as power outages. Congestion management isn’t only applicable to smart grids, it enables smart cities, street lighting, digital oil fields, smart agriculture, fleet management, connected cars, asset tracking, and many other applications where many devices may need to communicate important messages all at once.