Nokia Modernizes the Smart Grid To Bring Power Distribution Networks Into The IoT Era

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Source: Smart Grid Observer

Nokia recently introduced the 7705 SAR-Hm, a purpose-built LTE/3G wireless router aimed at modernizing distribution networks for utilities, but with applications for other high growth vertical markets, like Smart Cities.

The newest addition to the Nokia Service Routing portfolio merges IP/MPLS and LTE/3G technologies to provide utilities wireless connectivity for grid devices located deep in a highly scalable distribution network. This allows for promising new smart grid applications, including distribution automation, advanced metering, and integration of renewable energy sources, and lays the groundwork to support an anticipated massive increase in field devices with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Nokia notes that many power utilities currently use narrowband or proprietary wireless solutions to connect their field devices to each other and the control center. Most remote devices have no connectivity at all. Without the ability to scale and manage the network, remote monitoring and control of devices is challenging, costly and extremely difficult to operate and deploy. Nokia reports that the company has applied its experience in deploying secure IP/MPLS networks and LTE/3G to extend the reach of utilities' networks with this solution. Network operators, both public and private, will now have high capacity connectivity in their power distribution grids and directly into field devices, as well as the highest levels of reliability, security and scalability for mission-critical applications and services, according to the company.

'A holistic, network-centric strategy will benefit utilities which recognize how the industry is changing,' says Richelle Elberg, Principal Analyst, Energy, at Navigant Research. 'A converged FAN approach leveraging IP/MPLS and LTE offers a future-proof, ubiquitous network with the capacity to handle new energy services, transactive energy models, DER integration and better customer engagement-in addition to more traditional smart grid and smart city applications. As described in our white paper, Communications in the Energy Cloud, Navigant Research has dubbed this holistic networking strategy the 'Energy Superhighway.''

As Smart Grids are deployed, utilities will face a huge proliferation in the number of field devices they need to connect and manage. This includes integrating renewable energy resources, such as solar panels and wind farms, which are putting new demands on the electrical distribution system. Shifting loads and fluctuating generation from renewables will require real-time adjustment without operator intervention. Nokia notes that because the 7750 SAR-Hm distributes intelligence wirelessly over the IP/MPLS transport network, devices in the field will now be able to communicate and make decisions without human intervention as well as have greater flexibility, reliability and scale. This is critical for a more responsive grid today, and support for the expected increase in IoT devices in the future. 


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