Wireless Communication for Utilities 101
September 14, 2017
Denver, CO

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If this event is of interest you may also be interested in FCC 101 for Electric Utilities on October 16-17 in Baltimore, MD or Telecommunications 101 on October 25-26 in Denver, CO.

As technology advances and the rapid growth of data produced by electric utilities continues to increase, utilities need to know what technology is available that will maximize their investment in communication networks while ensuring reliable and secure data transmission. Increasingly, utilities are turning to wireless technology, however, there is no “one size fits all” solution, therefore, it is important for utility leaders to be well versed in the technology and regulations. This seminar is targeted toward increasing the knowledge of non-technical staff who work with or have an interest in Wireless Communications Systems in Electrical Utilities.

The seminar discusses basic concepts ranging from “what is wireless?” to the functions of the major components in wireless communications systems. Telecommunications regulatory bodies will be introduced and the roles of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) will be discussed.

Attendees will learn how transmitters, receivers, antennas, cables and propagation fit together to make a functioning wireless communication system. The concept of a smart grid will be introduced, why electric utilities need one, as well as the role of wireless communications in implementing a smart grid will be examined.

The seminar is presented in a professional manner which is not stressful. No one will be called on to participate, however, it is delivered in a way which encourages questions and interactive discussions between the attendees and the instructor on the issues they are facing and the things they want to learn. It is not death by PowerPoint. The participants will have a fun and rewarding learning experience. Since this is a basic seminar, a prior background in wireless communications or engineering is not expected or required.

The following topics will be included from a non-technical perspective:

  • A history and background of the wireless industry
  • Definitions of terms applicable in the wireless communications and smart grid industries
  • The frequency spectrum
  • The introduction of decibels and why they are used in wireless communications systems
  • How propagation works
  • Definition and discussion of alternative wireless technologies
  • Relevant industry forums
  • Hardware and software vendors
  • Standards bodies
  • Security issues
  • An introduction to the smart grid, exploring such issues as ‘what is it?’ and ‘who needs it?’
  • A discussion about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and their relationships to wireless communications.
  • The FCC website will be discussed, with a brief exploration regarding the information that is available there
  • Licensing by site and by geographic area will be discussed, with discussion regarding how buildout requirements are applied.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss wireless communications basics and how it supports the smart grid
  • Review the history of the industry and how it continues to evolve
  • Identify the relevant forums and initiatives that shape the industry
  • Explain the types of wireless communications technologies and the reasons for their use in the smart grid
  • Examine the components and functions of communications systems
  • Identify opportunities and challenges in the utility marketplace of the future



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.8 CEUs for this event.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day, be in attendance for the entirety of the course

Instructional Methods

 Power Point, Open Discussion


Thursday, September 14, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am – 5:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Session 1 – Wireless Communications Basics

  • Wireless Communications Definitions and Key Terms
    • The Transmitter
    • The Receiver
    • The Transmission Medium
    • What is Modulation?
    • The Frequency Spectrum
    • The Concept of Wavelength
    • Antennas and Propagation Fundamentals
      • What is the role of an antenna?
      • Why do they have such different types and sizes?
      • How does propagation work?
        • Free Space Loss
        • Diffraction
      • Alternate Communications Access Technologies
        • Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)
        • Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)
        • Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
      • Alternate Communications System Types
        • Satellite
        • Microwave
        • Wireless

Session 2 –  Overview of the Wireless Communications Industry

  • The Wireless Carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others)
  • Relevant Industry Forums
    • Utilities Telecom Council (UTC)
    • International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE)
    • Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association (ENTELEC)
    • National Spectrum Management Association (NSMA)
  • Hardware and Software Vendors
    • Broadband
    • Wideband
    • Narrowband
    • Tower Site Vendors
  • Standards Bodies
    • ITU
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    • Telecommunication Industry Association
    • The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)
  • Security Issues
    • The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)
    • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Session 3 –  The Smart Grid

  • Definition of a Smart Grid Network
    • Organizational Focus
  • Structure of a Smart Grid
    • Logical Partitions
  • Who Needs it and Why?
  • Historical Perspective
    • SCADA
  • Implications for the Future
    • The Internet of Things

Session 4 – The Regulatory Environment

  • The Roles of Multiple Wireless Communications Bodies
    • ITU
    • FCC
    • NTIA
  • The FCC Website
    • Searching Licenses and Applications
    • Searching Antenna Structure Registrations (ASR)
    • Spectrum Auctions
  • The Structure of FCC Licenses
    • Site Licenses
    • Geographic Area Licenses
  • Build-Out Requirements
    • The Concept of Substantial Service
    • Safe Harbor


Gerald L. (Jerry) Armes

Aurastar Information Systems

Mr. Armes has extensive wireless communications experience and has been a registered professional engineer in Texas for many years. He has designed, licensed and/or managed the construction of satellite, microwave, and wireless systems for private organizations such as Cylix Communications, the Associated Press, The Moody Bible Institute, Curacao Telecom and the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia. This included providing engineering services to Corporations, International Telecommunications Regulatory Organizations and the Electric Utility and Energy Industries over his career.

In the past five years, he has been engaged as the primary architect on a wireless Smart Grid project that encompasses hundreds of base station facilities and thousands of utility industry field devices, using five separate auctioned spectrum bands. 

He was a cofounder and CEO of a spectrum management firm Spectrum Planning, Inc. (SPI). That company was sold in 1988 and today is a part of Comsearch. Over his career, he has worked extensively with the FCC, both in obtaining licenses for clients, and teaching FCC sponsored courses under the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) program. Mr. Armes holds a BS Degree from Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), an MS Degree from Southern Methodist University, and an MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

He has extensive training and public speaking experience in Digital Wireless Communications, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standards, Frequency Management & Monitoring, and Satellite Communications. He has taught hundreds of international students in forums in Argentina, Australia, Israel, Malaysia, South Korea, and numerous other countries.


EUCI Office Building Conference Center
4601 DTC Blvd, B-100
Denver, CO 80237


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