FAQ: Mesh Network Issues

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Q: What is a mesh network?

Unlike a cell-phone network, which has large antennas that capture and transmit data, with individual phones moving around and connecting to the closest antenna in order to utilize the network, a mesh network has no centralized antennas. Every meter in the network can connect to every other one (within a certain distance- roughly a mile or two in the case of some smart meters that have been tested). Information moves around and then is collected by centralized hub antennas usually mounted on utility poles called Data Collector Units (or DCU’s).  There are also collector meters, which collect data from other meters- these tend to have higher emissions and (we believe) tend to be more associated with reported health problems.

Q: Why does my utility want to use this system?

It must have seemed like a great idea to them: little or no extra infrastructure—just install a powerful set of receivers and transmitters on each and every house you have an “easement” on—Voila! A massive “self-healing” connectivity network. Each meter transmits for incredible distances—if it can’t talk to its neighbor, it leaps to the next meter along, and so on.

Why it didn’t occur to them that people would object to have what is essentially a cell phone antenna facility mounted on the side of their house, we just don’t know. Perhaps that is the sort of disordered thinking that happens after years of unmitigated cell-phone use inside corporate offices buzzing with electro-smog.  It is most certainly ignorant, arrogant, and dangerous.   One day there will be prosecutions.

Perks for the utility: fire the meter readers, shut off customers without a field visit, and get access to a huge amount of free data from customer usage. Does any of that sound like it is for your benefit?

Q: Are there other systems in use with “smart” meters?

Utilities use a dizzying list of acronyms and technical terms to describe their ‘smart’ grid systems.  Many insist that their meters aren’t the ‘smart’ meters that have been causing all the problems. ALL of the meter types below are ‘smart’ and are associated with health and safety problems:

AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) enables two-way wireless communication between the utility and the meter.  Enables remote shut off & control of appliances.

AMR (Automatic Meter Reading- or ERT) meters are typically wireless one-way meters that report usage to utility personnel in a vehicle with a handheld device. Includes ‘bubble up’ meters that transmit all the time, and ‘wake up’ systems that transmit when they receive a signal from a drive by meter reader.

PLC (Power Line Communication) uses the power lines to transmit utility usage data.  Though this is a wired system, ‘dirty electricity’ used to send the signal also radiates into living spaces from unshielded wiring, and can be just as dangerous to your health than these other systems. Read more about PLC at EI Wellspring.

“Radio Off” Digital Meters can still act as a surveillance device.  They also use switch mode power supplies, linked to dirty electricity and health problems.

Bottom line: A ‘smart’ meter is any utility meter that contains electronic components.  Do not accept anything less than a ‘purely electro-mechanical analog meter with no electronic components.’  Be aware that some utilities have been installing meters that appear to be analogs but in fact are fully activated ‘smart’ meters.

Q: If I opt out, what happens to the mesh network around where I live?

On Sept 14, 2011 at the CPUC opt-out workshop, PG&E’s “smart” meter representative Jim Meadows stated that for every ten people who opt out, they will be forced to install one pole-top data collector unit (DCU) in order to close a “hole” in their mesh network. Those opting out would have no say over where that unit would be installed, raising serious questions about other ways a customer could be exposed to the network’s RF radiation. They were asked, but did not answer, what would happen if whole communities opted out.

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4 Responses to FAQ: Mesh Network Issues

  1. Redi Kilowatt says:

    The mesh network being sold by Silver Springs networks is only a part of the revenue collection system.
    Originally, the mesh network taking usage information from the meters was going to be collected and repeated on a proprietary radio network, but then the corporate telecommunications giants like Verizon and AT&T decided that they wanted a piece of the pie, “me some too”.
    They offered to have the ratepayers of the electric and gas utilities pay them for billing data transmission on their existing networks. The utilities corporations that already got the rate increases approved by the Public Utilities Commissions to build their own radio networks said, “go ahead on, whatever’s right” in a religious stupor, amen”. The good lord helps those who helps themselves !
    So now, the mobile phone networks are sucking up money from all sides to expand their networks to handle all the new customers on their networks that are the suckers who have SmartMeters.
    The problem is that this meter project was ramrodded through in all areas without any testing to see if it worked first. And guess what ?, in Marin county not even 30 percent of the meters billing is actually being received by the mobile networks.
    Oh yes indeed, all the meters are transmitting 24/7, but those transmissions are being transmitted for nothing at all, and the meters in most of Marin are still read manually by meter readers .
    The program was a very smart scam cooked up to sell an elaborate radio system to the ratepayers. It really doesn’t matter at all if it doesn’t work. What PG&E has done in Marin due intense pressure from the owners of PG&E was to eliminate half of the meter reading department, and make the existing meter readers work overtime to take up the slack, or just estimate some customers usage based on previous records. They can estimate usage legally for 3 months, and then send someone out to do an actual read. It is the new age of no wage, eliminate jobs for the corporate/collective good !

  2. Pingback: The Dangers of Smart Meters Hit Home — The Non-Toxic Nurse

  3. Robert Richter says:

    I already have a d-link router that works very well. If i get a linksys router for mesh network does that mean I have to disconnect my d- link router to use mesh network with its router or can I still use both. Thanks Bob Richter kb9yxh 73 kb9yxh@yahoo.com

  4. Duncan X. Simpson, K7DXS says:

    I’m still at a loss as to what the problem with smart meters is. The FCC takes care of any possible RF exposure problems. What else is wrong with them?

    Also anybody has the right to install mesh networking devices on their own property or anyone else’s with permission from the owner. I use an Amateur Radio mesh network for high speed data using point to point links here in Tucson, AZ.

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