AT&T is working with Nokia to make sure U.S. utility companies can get their data when they really need it. The companies are providing a new option for utilities to build a private, highly secure, reliable and high-capacity LTE network.
The solution combines AT&T spectrum with Nokia LTE Technology. It covers utilities at times and places their own private networks can't. Utilities will have continuity they can count on for their critical grid applications. And, they'll have a network that can evolve with the distribution grid of the future.
The solution enables better communication throughout the utilities' footprint.
AT&T will provide licensed spectrum so utilities can establish their own field area networks in their active footprint.
Devices can reach deep into the distribution network. That opens options for more automation. It supports distribution functions at substations, renewable energy sources, as well as management and control of remote devices and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solutions.
Other offers rely on unlicensed spectrum. They use proprietary technologies that often have more risk of interference. One analyst report predicts there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The majority of these devices will operate in unlicensed areas, potentially causing interference.
"Nokia and AT&T are addressing the challenges faced by utilities," said Michael Troiano, Vice President, IoT Solutions, AT&T Mobility. "Together, our spectrum and Nokia's LTE Technology gives utilities the opportunity to update their FAN. They can have confidence these networks will perform to their requirements—now and in the future."
"This joint solution offers utilities a new opportunity to modernize their field area network with a single, industry standards-based private broadband network," said Kamal Ballout, Vice President, Global Enterprise & Public Sector North America, Nokia. "Its end-to-end security approach, coupled with the ability to utilize AT&T's commercial wireless network, where and when their own private network is inaccessible, will deliver exceptional service continuity for today's critical grid applications along with true broadband capacity as the future distribution grid evolves."
The companies will help utilities migrate existing wireless devices and AMI collectors to a private broadband wireless solution. This significantly improves throughput and reliability. It also supports micro grids, metering solutions, renewable energy sources and more to meet shifting market demand—at minimal cost. The offer uses standards-based LTE technology; this will allow it to stay relevant in the future.
AT&T and Nokia expect to make this offer available in the 2nd half of 2016. Executives from both companies will attend DistribuTECH 2016 in Orlando.