This article presents a scalable route map for the least cost deployment of wireless heterogeneous networks that support traffic from the advance metering infrastructure (AMI). We first explore the performance of a common scenario in which a single technology is employed to connect smart meters sending traffic to the utility. Based on simulations with actual city maps, we study the coverage provided to smart meters by an LTE cellular network. In order to improve the coverage, an optimization model that considers network capacity and range is proposed to determine the optimal location of base stations to achieve a target coverage of smart meters. According to these preliminary results with a single access technology, we propose an evolved network architecture that considers several alternatives of wireless heterogeneous networks to guarantee the coverage to smart meters with the least use of resources. We introduce a heuristic model that involves elements from base stations, universal data aggregation points, number of smart meters, and an optimal routing to achieve the desired connectivity from the group of smart meters. We employ geo-referenced models to consider actual characteristics of cities as well as geographical conditions. Results from the evolved model demonstrate that by combining technologies and employing data aggregation points with optimized localizations, the network is able to achieve a target coverage of smart meters with a reduced cost in terms of technological resources.
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