5G Communications Technology Expected to Dramatically Enhance Grid Networking Options


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5G communications technology is expected to underpin the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the confluence of ubiquitous mobile broadband, pervasive sensing, and artificial intelligence promises to drive massive change across industry and society. This coming generation of wireless communications promises to make the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Energy (IoE) a reality, while delivering added benefits for power utilities. According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, 5G’s flexible, multi-spectrum, multi-function architecture will provide a platform able to support critical latency-sensitive applications as well as low power, low cost applications such as ubiquitous sensing throughout the distribution grid.

“5G will deliver a step-change in public wireless networking that has the potential to dramatically enhance the way utilities network their grid assets and systems,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Many of the concerns utilities have historically had with public networks should be alleviated, and the opportunity for a truly ubiquitous, futureproof network is one that utilities should not overlook as 5G networks come to fruition.”

In addition to enabling smart fleet management as well as edge computing and cloud technologies for distributed automation and intelligent control, 5G networks may also provide new business model opportunities to power utilities, according to the report. Because the technology depends upon dense small cell architecture, opportunities for utilities to partner with carriers could arise, making dispersed assets such as poles, wires, and rights of way valuable assets.

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