Private LTE for the Smart Grid

Published: 15 Nov 2017

The time is right for the energy sector to build end-to-end intelligence into the electricity distribution network. Increasing volumes of distributed generation in many regions of the world need a dynamic infrastructure that can handle bidirectional and unpredictable power flows. At the same time, new consumption patterns are emerging with the introduction of electric vehicles. A mass market for EV is not far away, and the grid must be ready to meet future charging needs.

To meet these challenges, distribution network operators (DNOs) are extending connectivity to their field assets to create a truly automated grid. They are also extending downstream to the customer with advanced metering and tariffs to control peak loads. The combination of distribution automation (DA) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) means fewer and shorter outages, lower operating costs, potential for new tariffs and revenue streams, and the ability to take full advantage of distributed generation and storage.

However, the smart grid needs equally smart communications to deliver these benefits. The communications network must be as dynamic, secure and reliable as the power grid as the two become increasingly interdependent.

In this paper, Frost & Sullivan examines the major trends in co mmunications and the smart distribution grid. We identify how grid operators can benefit from important developments in cellular wireless. Standards-based LTE is now mature, with proven performance in the world’s most dema nding commercial telecom markets. Utilities looking for suitably low-risk and future-proof investments are assessing the benefits of private LTE broadband and narrowband in licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

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