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Utility Smart Meters Screwing Up WISPs, Home Routers
Charging Customers Fees to Disable Wireless Functionality
by Karl Bode 02:24PM Friday Feb 17 2012 Tipped by arisk See Profile
Users in our forums direct our attention to claims that at least one small WISP has had their service put out of commission due to electric utility smart meters operating in the 900 MHz band. We've previously noted how utility smart meters are interfering with residential Wi-Fi routers, and we're seeing a growing number of complaints about the meters interfering with other residential gear as well. The solution from utilities so far appears to be the hope that all consumers migrated to 2.4GHZ and 5.8 GHZ bands so they don't have to change. However, some smart meters also use the 2.4 GHz range.
quote:
"Thankfully, as time goes on, less and less devices will be operating in this band as most commercial products seem to be moving onto the 2.4GHZ and 5.8 GHZ bands," says Chatham-Kent Hydro in Canada...This is a presumptive statement, and what it really means is that they expect their system to chase consumers entirely off the band. It makes no accommodation for the thousands of 902-928 MHz devices already in use. Forcing a migration to other bands is a poor precedent, since there is nothing to stop some other user from deciding to use those bands and chasing consumer equipment to the next band, ad infinitum.
California has been a focused hotbed in this debate because many people with proclaimed electromagnetic sensitivity disorders have been trying to get the wireless signals disabled. Whether it's because it "messes with your chakras, dude" or it just screws up your router, utilities in several markets are now charging an extra fee to turn the radio portion of the smart meter off. Ironically, many of the companies that failed to succeed in the broadband over powerline (BPL) business because of interference, jumped immediately into the smart meter technology business to run face-first into interference problems of a completely different sort.

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vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Interference

Are these meters Part 15 devices? I assume the WISPs are licensed users and could complain to the FCC if a Part 15 device was causing interference.

As far as being charged to turn the radio off, just wrap the meter in foil. You might not kill the signal entirely, but you'll dampen it enough not to cause any more interference.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Interference

said by vpoko:

I assume the WISPs are licensed users and could complain to the FCC if a Part 15 device was causing interference.

I wouldn't assume that at all. There are many WISPs that use the ISM bands and are subject to Part 15 compliance.

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Interference

Ahh, well, if the WISPs are also Part 15 then they don't have much to bitch about: "This device must accept any interference received."

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Re: Interference

said by vpoko:

Ahh, well, if the WISPs are also Part 15 then they don't have much to bitch about: "This device must accept any interference received."

Except the FCC has nothing to do with this case. The interference and the WISP involved are in Ontario Canada.
»Smart meters knock out WISP

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA

Re: Interference

Oops, you are right. Though Canada has a similar regulation known as RSS-210.

knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN
said by vpoko:

Ahh, well, if the WISPs are also Part 15 then they don't have much to bitch about: "This device must accept any interference received."

That's true, except WISP can run equipment that nears 4,000 mW in power. I'm actually surprised the WISP isn't stomping all over their equipment. I have towers that use the 900MHz band and there are smart meters as well, but they all stick around the 912MHz frequency, so you just adjust your equipment around it. Both parties are then happy.

From what I read in the article though, this equipment in question just bounces all over the place for channels and was deemed illegal, but still got a government pass.
jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:3
said by vpoko:

Ahh, well, if the WISPs are also Part 15 then they don't have much to bitch about: "This device must accept any interference received."

The problem is that the stupid "smart meters" chew up the ENTIRE 900mhz band when they could simply use 1% of it to transmit a very tiny amount of usage data, leaving the majority of the band available to other users.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

1 recommendation

Re: Interference

No doubt.. Just use a single channel on the 900MHz band and SNMP to each smart meter.

Each SNMP request shouldn't eat that much data. It'd be nice if I could graph a smart meter myself.
BiggA
Premium
join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Yeah, the two companies need to get together and figure it out. Either that or move to a different technology.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

This is what happens with a spectrum free for all

When you just let everyone "have at it" there will of course be interference.

Allowing access to spectrum without a license is like suspending all parking rules in a city. Double parking, parking by the fire hydrant, parking in front of driveways, you name it... anything goes!

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

This is really two separate issues

Causing interference with other devices is certainly an issue. But it really shouldn't be tied to companies charging those with "electrosensitivity disorders" more money. (and even spell check says that doesn't exist!)
After all, their ridiculous claims to some imaginary disorder necessitate the need for sending a meter reader to the house, rather than using the remote signal. I would be pissed if it didn't cost them more.

fuziwuzi
Not born yesterday
Premium
join:2005-07-01
Atlanta, GA

Re: This is really two separate issues

said by Camelot One:

... their ridiculous claims to some imaginary disorder...

No doubt there are many who make such claims who are simply psychosomatic or hypochondria, it would be disingenuous to also claim all of them are "imaginary". Just as some people can smell things that others can't (like cyanide) or see things others can't (documented cases of people who can see in the near-ultraviolet range), there is a possibility that some people could also be attuned to other wavelengths.
--
Teabaggers: Destroying America is Priority #1

RichzCatz

@ca.gov

Re: This is really two separate issues

Geee I thought they were made at Foxconn like everything else!!
lol
>^^
Jurjen

join:2010-08-18
Montreal, QC
said by Camelot One:

Causing interference with other devices is certainly an issue. But it really shouldn't be tied to companies charging those with "electrosensitivity disorders" more money. (and even spell check says that doesn't exist!)
After all, their ridiculous claims to some imaginary disorder necessitate the need for sending a meter reader to the house, rather than using the remote signal. I would be pissed if it didn't cost them more.

Whoo there, Texas cowboy! Just because you can't imagine such disorders, it doesn't mean that they don't exist.
Even apart from these disorders, wireless signals have already been marked "potentially cancerous". I also have a person very close to me who had a series of brain cancers, which was blamed on excessive cellphone use. At least he doesn't take any criticism from others trying to convince him otherwise (luckily, after many therapies and surgeries over several years, he got rid of it).

One thing's for sure: no smart meter in my house. I've been investing in a wired LAN and replacing wireless phones with corded phones to eliminate wireless signals in the house, so no smart meter is going to undo all my efforts and investments. My girlfriend says that she can feel the difference of having WiFi on or off. I still need to do some blind tests with her, but I'm pretty sure that she's not making anything up.

By the way: I don't need a meter reader on my doorstep every one or two months. If I would just be allowed to enter my numbers through the internet or phone and only get checked once a year, why would I need to pay extra?

People wanting smart meters should actually pay for the difference. You're throwing away perfectly good analogue meters (which actually have a much longer lifespan and are much less likely to get issues), for getting a new one, which consumes power to run on and needs to have a powered wireless grid around town to run on. Why should my energy bill go up to cover those expenses?
arisk

join:2001-08-08
London, ON

Re: This is really two separate issues

said by Jurjen:

By the way: I don't need a meter reader on my doorstep every one or two months. If I would just be allowed to enter my numbers through the internet or phone and only get checked once a year, why would I need to pay extra?

People wanting smart meters should actually pay for the difference. You're throwing away perfectly good analogue meters (which actually have a much longer lifespan and are much less likely to get issues), for getting a new one, which consumes power to run on and needs to have a powered wireless grid around town to run on. Why should my energy bill go up to cover those expenses?

I don't know about other locations, but here in Ontario the primary reason for introducing smart meters was not to eliminate meter readers.
It was to implement Time of Use Billing.
jp10558
Premium
join:2005-06-24
Willseyville, NY

Re: This is really two separate issues

Wait, time of use billing? I.e. night rate electricity? My *grandmother* used to have that, well before anyone outside of universities ever even heard of computers, much less "smart" anything... I don't see why they would need a smart meter for this.
--
Opera 11.1; Windows XP Pro SP3;Intel C2Q6600; 3GB DDR2 1066; 1M/128k DSL; Comodo Internet Security 5.3;Proxomitron 4.5j Sidki 2009-06-06,GPG ID:0x0A1C6EE3
arisk

join:2001-08-08
London, ON

Re: This is really two separate issues

said by jp10558:

I don't see why they would need a smart meter for this.

I don't know how you would do it without, unless you send a meter reader out every hour.

Maybe you are thinking of some other TOU billing scheme.
For us, the rate varies throughout the day.
At peak demand times you pay more per kWh than at low demand times and those times change seasonally.

knewman

join:2010-10-21
so what do you do about cell phone towers and satellite signals? stuff you have no control over?
Jurjen

join:2010-08-18
Montreal, QC

Re: This is really two separate issues

I just not move to houses directly under a cellphone tower. Satellite signals are a lot weaker.

Despite that I don't control those, that doesn't mean I should let everything get worse. Specially if we can revert the smart meters at this point.
Vorg
Premium
join:2002-06-18
Tucson, AZ
electrosensitivity is real. People who have received a severe shock are advised not to use tens units because their nervous system is so sensetized and easly disrupted by even very low levels

gaforces
United We Stand, Divided We Fall

join:2002-04-07
Santa Cruz, CA

Testing

Doesnt seem like they had to test these meter reading systems before deployment.
No testing, no regulation. Just shove it onto consumers with no thoughts about interfering into other peoples equipment.
Reminds me of Cartman on South Park.
I do what I waont!
--
Let them eat FIBER!

djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4

queue..

Queue the "WHY WON'T YOU THINK OF OUR CHILDREN!!" from the Naperville group in 3..2..1..
flashcore

join:2007-01-23
united state

Interference

The only good thing to take from this is that users can screw up the "Smart Meters" by boosting a 900Mhz radio in the same range to down out the signal of anything else and from what I can tell it would be perfectly legal so long as they stay in an unlicensed band and that its on your property.

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI

Not marked as...

UL listed from what I have heard. Yank them fire hazards out!

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

1 recommendation

All of our meters are remote read.

Our utility (Northeast Utilities/WMECo) has been using remote read meters for years. The meters are read when the utility drives by in a van with a transceiver connected to a laptop. Our water utility (run by the city of Springfield) installed a remote read meter several years ago. Same with the Gas (although we don't have gas coming into the house, but I wish we had it as it is cheaper than electric heat). I never have any health issues or problems with my electronics.

Central Maine Power just put in smart meters and I am not having any issues with the electronics at Grandma's house.
--
All of my CPE (including my EMTA) is customer owned. The only Comcast owned equipment in my house is the CableCards in the two TiVO boxes I own.

OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH

Re: All of our meters are remote read.

AEP Ohio Created what looks like a mesh network, the meters talk to antennas on poles in the neighborhood, and those run back over fiber they buried 5 years ago. This setup is US DOE funded and supposed to also have them find out about outages sooner and manage the load better. Also rolled out thermostats that talk to the meters that let them cut off the AC under high load events and you get a discount for not overriding it.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: All of our meters are remote read.

First Energy Corp is also working on building a network like that. It's being test piloted in many markets- Toledo and Cleveland being two of them in Ohio. Dominion has smart meters for gas and electric. Although with gas they drive down the street and the trucks just download the meters readings.- Columbia Gas and NiSource did the same thing. Many water companies and city departments are deploying wireless smart meters as well.

OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH

Re: All of our meters are remote read.

Yea Columbia Gas just converted us to that system, I think AEP sorta encouraged them to since they was first, but like you said I thing the gas system is read by drive by. Waiting to see if the city is going to do this with water, though I think the loss of jobs pushback will kill it, as i'm shire AEP and columbia were doing it for that and not the outer benefit they trumpet. Which is bad for the economy but well was gonna happen sooner or later.

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA

Not all remote meters are RF

Some use a Power Line Carrier, PLC, system so you don't have to necessarily get upset if you know you have a remote read meter.

This isn't to say that the PLC systems can't cause some interference but it's not direct like the ones mentioned here.
--
Say no to JAMS!

RobertW88

@comcast.net

Smart Meter Interference

PEOPLE MORE VULNERABLE THAN MACHINES

Why do people recognize that the smart meters interfere with equipment, but they can't imagine that they also interfere with people's biology which is tens of thousands of times more complex than any machine and exponentially beyond that number with more points that can be affected or triggered to affect other parts of the body.

I can understand the utility company shills and industry parrots that enter these sights, but how do regular people get so duped by these false and absurd claims of safety?

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

1 recommendation

Re: Smart Meter Interference

You're from San Fran, aren't ya?

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
Premium
join:2002-04-02
Redwood Valley, CA
kudos:1

Re: Smart Meter Interference

said by Simba7:

You're from San Fran, aren't ya?

San Fran doesn't exist, however, San Francisco does.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
because Science and Research proves otherwise.
Phasewolf

join:2004-08-04
Sterling Heights, MI

1 recommendation

Here you go.

Here's a idea for all the people that are afraid of the RF energy melt some lead and drink it. Lead works as a shield for RF and you body will be safe.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

1 edit

Re: Here you go.

Because lead is a toxic heavy metal it shouldn't be ingested. However living in house that has been built or renovated with a lead lining behind the drywall and preferably doesn't have electricity will be much more effective than wearing a tin foil hat.
Edit: Forgot to mention that the house should have metal exterior doors and metal screens that cover the (preferably low-e) windows entirely. Keep that tin foil hat handy just in case you absolutely have to go outside.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·ooma
·Verizon FiOS

CON ED & DOE// 1.7 - 2.4ghz

I think the coned meters are next to the Verizon cellular voice frequencies. There's also a water meter by the DOE (environment, not energy) and these don't interfere with ANYTHING. They transmit their data maybe 1 - 4 times per month (unless specifically polled) and that's that.