Microwave Private Network

Sweetwater Authority

Customer Background

Sweetwater Authority provides water treatment and distribution to 200,000 people in a service area that covers 32 square miles near San Diego, California. It is a publicly owned water agency governed by an elected Board of Directors. Since 1977 Sweetwater Authority has provided its customers their water services and, over that period of time, has sourced water from three primary sources, freshwater ground wells, the Sweetwater Reservoirs, and San Diego Formation wells which provide brackish groundwater. Enterprise Automation has provided automation and integration services for Sweetwater Authority since 2005.

Project Background

Sweetwater Authority’s SCADA system monitors and controls a number of remote assets from Hydro stations and reservoirs to booster sites and treatment plants. Having so many resources spread out over a large geographical area means telemetry is required to communicate between all sites. As data grows, and more and more devices seek to communicate, older radio-based networks and landlines can’t provide enough bandwidth. In addition, Sweetwater Authority planned for an Emergency Operations Center which had full SCADA control in case they ever had to abandon their primary control center. In order to future proof their system in a secure way, SWA decided to construct their own private microwave network ring.

EA Solutions

EA was tasked with network design of the microwave system, along with updating the many PLC communications programs that were installed at the remote sites to be compatible with an updated communication system, and updating the IP address of every device on the SCADA network to comply with the new subnet and VLAN standards. Additional testing was done to ensure the added networking components like switches and firewalls would all work as intended with the new PLC programming, and that startup and cutover would be quick and painless. EA simulated the entire network infrastructure within our office.

Key Insights

  • Radio network simulation was critical for in house testing
  • Cyber security optimization through rugged routers allowed additional network segregation

Key Technologies:

  • Cisco Networking Equipment
  • MOXA Industrial Firewalls
  • Palo Alto Firewalls

Project Metrics:

  • EA’s Services Value: $100k
  • Project Length: 24 months 
Download PDF