The increasing energy costs and the declining economy has forced many governments to start thinking about efficient and optimal ways of consuming electricity in order to reduce consumption and costs. The “smart grid” is a concept that has started to be implemented in countries like the USA and has the ability to control consumer’s electrical appliances to be operational only at non-peak hours for example. The smart grid has the ability to route power flow in more optimal ways to respond to a very wide range of conditions, and to charge a premium to those that use energy at peak hour. The smart grid includes also an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing in the system and of the failures and errors that appear in power substations in order for utility companies to respond quickly and fix any power failure problems.
In 2009 Cisco announced its participation in the smart grid initiative, and one year later (May 25, 2010) Cisco has produced its first products to be used by utility companies in their smart grid networks. The new product offerings include the Cisco 2010 Connected Grid Router (CGR 2010) and the Cisco 2520 Connected Grid Switch (CGS 2520). The two new smart grid products from Cisco will enable utility companies to grab and analyze data from multiple intelligent electronic devices in a substation. The data can then be used to improve the monitoring and maintenance of power transmission and distribution systems, to find, diagnose and fix failures, and to more easily integrate renewable sources of power into the overall energy offerings. The two smart grid Cisco products are optimized to work in harsh environments (power stations) and include all major IOS features that are found in the other mainstream Cisco routers and switches.