A wireless network infrastructure for an automatic meter reading system to replace the conventional telephone-line-based system is currently developed by the major Japanese gas companies. This system enables the remote meter reading of inaccessible customers such as self-locking cluster housings, and it provides more reliable and robust home network for safety and value-added services.


What Does “Ubiquitous” Mean?

A ubiquitous gas meter having various network capabilities.

Ubiquitous is technology, environment, or interface in order to communicate each other without realizing its background mechanisms by users; “ubiquitous” has become a buzzword in modern network based services. The ubiquitous metering system provides various networking services using embedded network capabilities of the ultrasonic gas meter.








The Next Generation Communication Interface

In order to realize high speed, reliable and versatile communication capabilities, a new communication interface was designed and installed in the ultra sonic gas meter. The wide area ubiquitous network (WAUN) device, multi-hop wireless network (PAN) device, and other devices including conventional telephone interfaces and fire alarms can be connected. Maximum number of devices connected to the new communication interface is five per meter .










Multi-hop Wireless Communication (PAN)


 Since gas meters are often placed in a closed and isolated area, radio wave communication from gas meters to a specific poling point may not be guaranteed. In order to establish robust and reliable data transmission channel, an automatic ad-hoc mesh network construction (maximum 50 devices) is employed. Multi-hop (maximum 15 hops), multi-path, two-way communication among meters with very low electric power consumption can be performed by an external interface unit.



 A gas meter having difficulty in connecting to an outside station, autonomously hops its data to adjacent gas meters using the PAN network so that the data is transmitted through other gas meters, and will eventually be transmitted to the outside station.

Specifications of PAN Interface


Frequency Band

950MHz (Japan) or other


IEEE802.15.4d PHY (not fully supported)

Output Power


Data Rate


Life Time

10 years

Power Supply

Lithium battery


Network Topology

Mesh structure

Communication Direction


Number of relays

Average: 5 hops, Max: 15 hops

Number of Nodes

Max 50

Number of Meters

Max 50 (/node)


Rooting  features

Automatic routing , root diversity

Network Construction

Easy  Association with magnetic reed switch



Wide Area Ubiquitous Network (WAUN)

 WAUN is a new type of public network to realize a service domain that cannot be fully supported by conventional mobile phone networks. The wide-area ubiquitous network consists from many low power UHF/VHF stations with several km radius, and relatively low data rates (ca. a few hundred byte/terminal/month) aimed especially for meter readings and other sensing applications makes it economically feasible. An interface unit is needed for the gas meter to be connected to WAUN .



Current Status


After successful development of the ultrasonic gas meter, development of a new version with the communication capabilities has started in 2006 by the Japanese major gas companies. They have started a field test of the new gas meters in 2008 .A pilot deployment is scheduled in 2010.
Tokyo gas, Osaka gas and Toho gas have collaborated in the development of the new gas meter.
More information contact: netdecheck@tokyogas-es.co.jp






© 2005 TOKYO GAS ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS CORP. all rights reserved.