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The Catalyst IR8140 Heavy Duty Series Router will be Cisco’s first router to support new Capabilities for FAN 1.1. to meet increasing digitization needs. 

In 2019, the Wi-SUN Alliance introduced the first certified products implementing Field Area Network 1.0, which is a secure, self-forming , self-healing IPv6 wireless mesh network designed to support smart utility, smart city and other use cases operating over large geographic areas.  Based on IETF IoT standards and sub-GHz IEEE 802.15.4 radio, there are today more than 90 certified products supporting electric utility metering, distribution automation, and municipal street lighting applications.

2024 will see the availability of the first certified devices implementing the new FAN 1.1 features, which will include important additional capabilities:

  • Low power device operation.  The world’s top metering companies have developed FAN’s new low power capabilities.  Low power nodes will be able to function for up to 20 years on battery, targeting use cases such as water metering, gas metering and various wide area, low power monitoring applications.
  • Higher performance.  FAN 1.1 adds an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing PHY to the existing 2FSK support, meaning FAN 1.1 data rates will cover the range of 50 Kbps up to 2.4 Mbps.  The higher data rates will be welcome for low latency utility distribution automation applications such as Fault Location Isolation and Restoration (FLISR).
  • Mesh neighbors will be able to negotiate modulation and data rate.  This “gear shifting” capability can be used, for example, to transition a section of lower throughput metering mesh to a higher throughput mode for fault isolation operations.
  • Expanded geographic support.  North America, Brazil, Japan, and European Union operation is supported.  Extension to additional 800 and 900 MHz regions is now practical.

A single FAN 1.1 mesh can support thousands of Router nodes, each able to parent low power nodes. A classic utility use case for this topology is a deployment of electric meters (Routers), each parenting one or more water or gas meters.  Adding additional meshes scales a deployment to millions of nodes.

Figure 1 depicts an example FAN 1.1 mesh.  A self-forming, self-healing mesh is formed amongst the Border Router and Routers.  Routers are further able to “parent” low power nodes.  The sub-GHz mesh RF links can stretch to a kilometer or more (depending upon local conditions).  The mesh is configured with a base data rate/modulation, with mesh nodes able to negotiate with neighbors to “gear shift” to a different data rate as required by application specifics.

Figure 1: An Example FAN 1.1 Mesh


The Catalyst IR8100 Heavy Duty Series Industrial Router will be the first member of the Cisco Resilient Mesh solution to be FAN 1.1 certified.   Given its rugged design for harsh outdoor environments, flexible backhaul configuration, and security capabilities, the IR8140 is an ideal FAN 1.1 Border Router.  An individual IR8140 can root a mesh of thousands of FAN 1.1 devices, with millions of scale device networks achieved with the deployment of additional IR8140s.   Following the IR8140, the IR510 Industrial RouterIR530 Range Extender, and Cisco Resilient Mesh Endpoint SDK will also be scheduled for FAN 1.1 certification, rounding out a complete Cisco FAN 1.1 portfolio of Border Routers, Routers, and endpoint design SDK.

Figure 2: Cisco IR8140, IR510, and IR530

“As utility endpoints become smarter by adopting an IP-based network, it becomes imperative to manage the workflows of the field area network with security and scale” said Lakshmi Narayana Jammi, Product Manager at Cisco Industrial IoT. “Wi-SUN addresses this challenge in the field area network by enabling different vendors to interoperate and communicate securely from the customer edge to the utility control center by adopting open-source protocols validated at scale to meet the growing needs of the IoT FAN industry.  Adopting a Wi-SUN standard must be seen as a critical milestone to allow vendor interoperability and various services to be onboarded to the existing Field Area Network.

Cisco’s Wi-SUN solution provides solutions that are Wi-SUN 1.0 and also covers the upcoming Wi-SUN 1.1 use cases, such as gear shifting and support for low-energy devices. Cisco provides a secure, scalable, and simplistic onboarding process and help customers pick backhaul options to transport the data securely from the customer edge to the utility control center and manage the lifecycle of all the communication assets in a scalable manner.”

Large FAN 1.1 networks require a network management system able to provide lifecycle management for million node networks.  Cisco IoT Field Network Director is purpose built and field proven to manage these large-scale networks.

“The Wi-SUN Alliance is thrilled to see the new capabilities of FAN 1.1 coming to fruition” said Phil Beecher, President and CEO of the Wi-SUN Alliance.  “The addition of low power operation and high performance RF to Wi-SUN FAN 1.1 enables use cases from very low power water and gas metering applications all the way up to high performance distribution automation capabilities required by critical utility and smart city operations.  All the while providing enterprise class security within a multi-vendor, interoperable ecosystem”.

For more information about the Wi-SUN Alliance and Field Area Network 1.1, head over to the Wi-SUN FAN information site.

Also see this additional information about Cisco Resilient Mesh products and Cisco Field Network Director.

Finally, if you are attending DISTRIBUTECH next week, join us at Booth 1135 to see the Catalyst IR8140 and our IoT Field Network Director in person, as well key solutions to help utilities with their grid modernization projects in grid security, substation automation, distribution automation, renewable energy, and more.


Jeffrey Tufts

Global Energy Solutions Leader

Cisco Industries Solutions Group

Paul Duffy

Senior Technical Leader

Enterprise CTO Team / Industrial IoT