Aclara announces strategic alliance with Firetide to develop wireless mesh-based wide-area network for utilities

CLEVELAND, OH, Sept. 14, 2009 -- Aclara has announced its strategic alliance with Firetide Inc., a provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks. Aclara is developing a revolutionary wide-area network (WAN) for utilities based in part on Firetide's technology...

CLEVELAND, OH, Sept. 14, 2009 -- Aclara, a leader in Intelligent Infrastructure™ solutions for utilities and part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies Inc., today announced its strategic alliance with Firetide Inc., a provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks. Aclara is developing a revolutionary wide-area network (WAN) for utilities based in part on Firetide's technology.

The Aclara Smart Communications Network is a high-bandwidth, Ethernet-based, wireless, broadband solution that will employ TCP/IP communication protocols as well as IEEE 802.11 technology for wireless communications. Designed for gas, water, or electric utilities, the solution will bring together existing assets and applications into a single network, replacing multiple low-to-medium bandwidth systems that now communicate data to utilities. The Aclara Smart Communications Network provides an ideal interface to utility and IT resources and back-office applications for SCADA control and monitoring systems, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), home-area networks, and mobile workforce applications.

Firetide is providing the MIMO (multiple input multiple output) 802.11n radio technology as well as the network management software required for the Aclara solution to communicate in mesh, point-to-point, or point-to-multipoint modes over 900 MHz or 2.4/5.8 GHz frequencies. Firetide solutions are now used by many municipalities and businesses to stream video from security cameras, as well as voice and data for enterprise applications. The technology supports throughput of 1Mb/s to 300 Mb/s in outdoor environments, making it perfectly suited to handle utility distribution applications.

"This partnership combines Firetide's industry-leading technology and Aclara's market expertise to deliver a high-value solution for utilities and especially emerging smart grid initiatives," said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide Inc. "To enable smart grid and other utility applications, public and private utilities need a way to communicate easily and seamlessly -- to share data, provide security, and enable communications. Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh has emerged as a viable solution to the utilities' communications need and as a superior alternative to cellular and other types of communications, given its bandwidth and reliable topology."

The Firetide technology supports the Aclara Smart Communication Network, and enables a true enterprise-class, Ethernet-based solution that will encourage utilities to take a top-down approach to managing data communications.

"By employing accepted IT standards, the Aclara Smart Communications Network provides a seamless connection between the utility LAN and the smart applications, devices, and subsystems that comprise the utility infrastructure," said Mark Thompson, Vice-President of Strategic Communication Networks for Aclara.

"The use of the widely accepted Ethernet standards combined with wireless mesh technology provides simple, secure, and reliable interoperability to a wide range of systems within electric, gas and water utilities." added Thompson.

Firetide is demonstrating its network technology in Aclara booth #306 at Autovation® 2009 in Denver, September 13 to 16.

About Aclara
The Aclara brand represents the industry's leading Intelligent Infrastructure™ technologies for providing device networking, data-value management, and customer communications to water, gas, and electric utilities globally. Over 500 utilities in nine countries rely on proven Aclara solutions to connect with their customers. Aclara is part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ESE), St. Louis. www.Aclara.com.

About Firetide Inc.
Firetide is the leading provider of wireless infrastructure mesh networks that enable concurrent video, voice, and data for municipal, public safety, and industrial applications. Firetide provides reliable high performance wireless infrastructure mesh and access solutions for video surveillance, Internet access, public safety networks and temporary networks wherever rapid deployment, mobility and ease of installation are required. Headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif., Firetide is a privately held company with worldwide product distribution. http://www.firetide.com

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