Nokia has introduced an LTE/3G wireless router aimed at modernising distribution networks for utilities, but which could also be used for applications in other vertical markets such as Smart Cities.
The 7705 SAR-Hm is the newest addition to the Nokia Service Routing portfolio. It merges IP/MPLS and LTE/3G technologies to provide utilities with wireless connectivity for grid devices located deep in a highly scalable distribution network.
The idea is that this will allow utilities to implement promising new smart grid applications, including distribution automation, advanced metering, and integration of renewable energy sources. It also lays the groundwork to support an anticipated massive increase in field devices with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Many power utilities currently use narrowband or proprietary wireless solutions to connect their field devices to each other and the control centre. 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 said it had 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.
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. 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 to enable a more responsive grid today, and to support the expected increase in IoT devices in the future.
While initially aimed at power utilities, Nokia said the 7705 SAR-Hm is also suitable for other industry sectors requiring wireless connectivity of IP/MPLS services for field operations, including oil and gas, mining, public safety, government, transportation and aviation.