Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Nokia router lets utilities modernise grids

Steve Rogerson
February 2, 2017

At this week’s Distributech in San Diego, Nokia introduced a purpose-built LTE and 3G wireless router aimed at modernising distribution networks for utilities, but with applications for other high growth vertical markets such as smart cities.
The 7705 SAR-Hm merges IP/MPLS and LTE/3G technologies to provide utilities with wireless connectivity for grid devices located deep in a highly scalable distribution network. This allows for promising smart grid applications, including distribution automation, advanced metering and integration of renewable energy sources, and lays the groundwork to support an anticipated increase in field devices with the IoT.
Many power utilities use narrowband or proprietary wireless 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.
The Finnish company has applied its experience in deploying secure IP/MPLS networks and LTE/3G to extend the reach of utilities' networks with this device. Network operators, both public and private, can have high capacity connectivity in their power distribution grids and directly into field devices, as well as 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 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 be able to communicate and make decisions without human intervention as well as have 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.
"Power utilities worldwide are in the midst of a significant transformation as they gear up to meet new market forces, green environmental regulations and disruptive renewable energy technologies,” said Sri Reddy, head of IP routing and packet core business for Nokia. “Grid reliability, power quality and automation are all key areas that will require improved field area networks. We are excited to offer our utility customers wireless options for extending the proven, secure and reliable IP/MPLS services of our service router portfolio. This will not only allow them to modernise their field area operations with more automation and monitoring for improved grid reliability and power quality, it will position them well to maximise tomorrow's opportunities."