5G and the Internet of Energy

5G communications technology will 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, in global pilots even as standards are still being shaped, promises to make the Internet of Things (IoT)—and of Energy (IoE)—a reality.

For power utilities, 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. It will enable smart fleet management and employ edge computing and cloud technologies for distributed automation and intelligent control. Virtualization of network aspects will allow carriers to provide greater security, signal prioritization, and quality of service (QoS) to utilities, alleviating past concerns about public networks.

This Navigant Research report provides an overview of the 5G technology standard and its use cases. It discusses the many smart grid applications these networks will support and proposes certain business model opportunities it may create. The report also provides a discussion of the global carriers and infrastructure vendors that are leading the charge toward the 5G future. Utilities—and their vendors—planning network upgrades over the next 5-10 years must fully understand the longer-term implications of the 5G evolution as they consider their need for future-proof and holistic connectivity.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What is 5G wireless and how does it differ from legacy cellular service?
  • How will 5G support utility and energy industry participants?
  • Which key vendors and carriers are shaping 5G standards and conducting pilots worldwide?
  • What opportunities will 5G network architecture create for utilities?
  • How will 5G maturity affect utilities, smart grid communications vendors, and service providers planning utility networks?
Who needs this report?
  • Communications infrastructure vendors
  • Cloud service providers
  • Communications service providers
  • Utilities
  • Utility regulators
  • Grid IT and analytics solutions vendors
  • Grid sensor vendors
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. 5G and the Internet of Energy

2.1   5G Overview

2.1.1   Enhanced Mobile Broadband

2.1.2   Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications

2.1.3   Massive Machine-Type Communications

2.1.4   Standards

2.2   Network Characteristics and Requirements

2.2.1   5G Spectrum Bands

2.2.2   Network Densification and Zoning Issues

2.2.3   SDN, Virtualization, and the Cloud

2.2.4   Cloud and Edge Computing

2.2.5   Security

2.2.6   Reliability

2.2.7   Fiber Needs for Backhaul

2.2.8   Timeline and Regional Development

2.3   IoE Applications

2.4   Leading 5G Market Participants for Smart Grid Applications

2.4.1   AT&T

2.4.2   Efacec

2.4.3   Ericcson

2.4.4   Huawei

2.4.5   Nokia

2.4.6   Qualcomm

2.4.7   Verizon

3. Conclusions and Recommendations

3.1   Recommendations for Utilities

3.2   Recommendations for Smart Grid Technology Vendors

3.3   Recommendations for Wireless Carriers

3.4   Recommendations for Wireless Infrastructure Vendors

List of Charts and Figures

  • The Three Legs of 5G Networks
  • 5G Proposed Spectrum Bands
  • Small Cells Densify Existing Cellular Networks
  • Proposed 5G Spectrum Bands by Country

List of Tables

  • Latency Requirements for Grid Segments
  • Smart Grid Applications Supported by 5G Networks

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