Nokia supplies private LTE for Western Power Distribution’s smart-grid tests
Nokia has deployed a private LTE network for electricity company Western Power Distribution (WPD) in the UK to test various smart grid applications including for monitoring of power networks, distributed generation, grid automation, and surveillance cameras.
Nokia has deployed the LTE version (branded 4.9G LTE) of its modular pirate wireless (MPW) marco cell solution for WPD, which runs UK electricity distribution in the south west and midlands regions in England, as well as in south Wales. WPD plans to upgrade to 5G, to cover sundry supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems for monitoring industrial processes and machines include low-voltage power output, distributed generation, and automation.
It is also testing cellular for ancillary “mission-critical” voice, video, and data services in the power grid. Nokia is supplying the LTE radio and core components, alongside industrial end devices. The setup includes licensed and unlicensed radio, as well as microwave and fibre networks. It represents a ‘typical’ industrial-grade LTE field-area network in Band 87 (410-430MHz), assessing throughput in interference and non-interference environments.
Private LTE network slicing is also being trialled with a view to sharing physical networks with tenant companies in the gas and electricity sectors. The tests are part of WPD’s ‘LTE Connecting Futures’ trial at its test and development centre in Taunton, in Somerset, and have been in the works for a couple of years. Nokia noted its private LTE/5G work already with energy companies including Elektro, Equinor, QTnet, and Siemens.
Phil Rigden, telecoms manager for WPD, said: “We have worked closely with Nokia over the last two years to demonstrate the capability of its LTE private wireless solution to support the operation of our smart grid, including SCADA, voice, video and data services. We have been able to document key learnings to share with the utility industry that confirm the suitability of LTE and 5G to provide the connectivity platform for tomorrow’s grid.”
Matthieu Bourguignon, vice president for Nokia’s enterprise division in Europe, said: “The industrial test environment with WPD provides a platform to trial various grid use cases on private wireless networks. These include active network monitoring, power quality measurements, CCTV, distributed generation, and automation of the smart grid. The applications will support the industry to meet the regulatory challenges of providing clean, sustainable energy.”
Nokia claims to have deployed private wireless networks with around 340 large enterprise customers, and “mission-critical” networks for around 1,500 enterprises in the transport, energy, manufacturing, webscale, and public sector segments around the globe.