The big power outage in the north-eastern United States in 2003, provided plenty of incentive for studying how disturbances in the power grid propagate. A real-time network of monitoring instruments tied to a central server would provide a mechanism for studying the power grid and potentially a new means for controlling fluctuations in the grid to prevent wide area outages.

The objective of the FNET system is to create a low cost and quickly deployable wide-area frequency measurement network with high dynamic accuracy. This objective is realized through the use of Frequency Disturbance Recorders (FDRs). Each FDR is capable of accurately measuring the frequency of the voltage waveform at a 110 V outlet. A timestamp from the atomic clocks available in GPS satellites is used to synchronize the measured data which is sent across the internet to the central FNET server housed at Virginia Tech. The server saves the incoming frequency measurements and performs real-time analysis on the data.

An example mock-up of possible installations can be seen below. Units can be moved from time to time depending on need and for specific research purposes. Different strategies from analyzing wide network phenomenon to high density deployment govern FDR placement. You may be reading this page because you have been asked to install an FDR unit at your geographic location. Clicking on the various menu tabs will show you other aspects of FNET, and assure you of the ease of installation.


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