As next generation networks (such as 4G, 5G, LoRa and Sigfox) become more widespread, there is increasing interest from the utilities sector in the features in the standards that are targeted at IoT telemetry-type applications.
New bearers can open up exciting new applications that cannot be served by today’s narrowband bearers. For 5G, ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), network slicing and support for large densities of connected devices are some of the attractions.
A new white paper from TCCA’s SCADA, Smartgrid and IoT Working Group looks at the considerations for utilities looking to transition from narrowband to next-generation bearers.
The paper recommends the top ten topics that should be taken into account by utilities planning to migrate their machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to a new bearer or bearers.
“There is a perception that moving to a new technology bearer is a necessary upgrade that will deliver a faster service,” said Nick Smye from Mason Advisory, who chairs the Working Group. “However, for M2M communications, mission critical capability isn’t simply about speed. Risk of obsolescence, network resilience, priority and pre-emption are all critical features for mission critical utility applications. It will be some time before 5G networks provide the required level of resilience and coverage, and, for example, any bearer needs to support priority and pre-emption, which is a key feature of TETRA.”
The considerations are ranked in order of importance, and reflect a utility sector view, as well as a European perspective in terms of the availability and reliability of communications infrastructure.