For decades, utilities relied on a relatively standard set of networking solutions to perform specific tasks in the grid (e.g., closed networks for critical SCADA and control functions and unlicensed wireless solutions for non-critical tasks such as smart metering). Today, demands upon the grid are changing rapidly, with a need for greater visibility, resiliency, and control throughout both the transmission and distribution networks.
At the same time, a multitude of new networking options have become available. Low power wide area protocols such as Weightless, LTE Cat 1, LTE Cat M1, NB-IoT, and LoRa can serve existing applications, such as smart meters, as well as economically support widespread sensor networks for asset monitoring and maintenance. New spectrum options are now available to utilities, making viable the buildout of private 4G LTE networks across utility territories. Additionally, public wireless carriers have enhanced their offerings with critical utility needs in mind. In this roundtable discussion, panelists will examine the shifting environment and options for utility networking, with various new business model benefits highlighted. The webinar will be a follow-up discussion to Guidehouse Insights's November 4 webinar, LTE-Based Networks—Not Existing AMI Systems—Will Better Serve Emerging Utility Needs.