Private Wireless Utility Field Area Networks

RF Mesh, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE, and Proprietary Wireless Networks for Integrated Distribution, Substation, and Smart Meter Applications

The term field area network (FAN) is applied to a network that is used to connect various devices located in an electric utility’s “field” of operations, including smart meters, concentrators, distribution assets, control and protection equipment, and substation equipment. Instead of running disparate and discrete networks for each type of equipment, FANs are being designed to deliver advanced applications across a common platform to allow for simpler, more unified visibility, management, and control, as well as economies of scale and resources. Utilities have realized that across the FAN, a variety of wireless transport technologies are likely to be put in place, given the wide variety of technological requirements for each application used. As a result, there has been a concerted effort on the part of vendors to reposition themselves as platform vendors and integrators, rather than as simply suppliers of a specific piece of equipment, such as smart meters or radio-module providers.

The growth of private field area networks are best tracked by the growth of communication nodes being deployed in a utility’s field, which includes AMI nodes, nodes used to manage the distribution network, and nodes to connect substations. Pike Research projects that shipments will reach high volumes in the early part of the 2011-2020 forecast period, due to the initial wave of smart meter deployments, dip in the middle years as initial stimulus spending projects are completed, and then rise again as metering-mandate deadlines approach and utilities refocus on the optimization of the grid. By 2020, wireless node unit shipments will reach and surpass the levels seen in 2011 – totaling just over 14 million annually.

This Pike Research report examines the use of privately owned, built, and managed wireless technology infrastructure used to deploy field area networks. The report covers the range of technologies used in these networks, including RF mesh, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, LTE, and proprietary wireless systems. Profiles of 16 key industry vendors are included along with worldwide market forecasts, segmented by region and technology, for unit shipments, revenue, and average selling prices through 2020.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What are field area networks?
  • What are the wireless technologies that are currently used in FANs today?
  • Who are the key vendors involved in the market, and how do their offerings compare against each other?
  • How are various governments around the world acting to create utility-only spectrum for field area networks?
  • In which geographic regions is the majority of field area network spending occurring?
  • What are the key drivers and barriers to growth in the wireless FAN market?
  • What technology issues are facing vendors of these technologies, and how are they being overcome?
Who needs this report?
  • Utilities
  • Smart grid hardware and software vendors
  • Smart meter manufacturers
  • Wireless module makers (LTE, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, RF wireless)
  • Wireless communication solution/platform vendors
  • Wireless networking providers
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1   Introduction

1.2   Key Market Drivers

1.3   Technology Issues

1.4   Market Forecasts

2.     Market Issues

2.1   The Field Area Network

2.2   Market Drivers for Private Wireless Field Area Networks

2.2.1     Advantageous Rate Recovery Structure

2.2.2     Enhanced Operational Control

2.2.3     Grid Reliability and Security

2.2.4     Enhanced/Integrated Mobile Worker Communications

2.2.5     Avoidance of Technical Obsolescence

2.2.6     Potential Future Revenue Stream Generation

2.2.7     Growing Convergence of Applications on a Common Communications Platform

2.3   Market Opportunity and Environment

2.3.1     Market Environment and Business Structures

2.3.2     Government and Regulatory Environment

2.3.2.1     North America

2.3.2.2     Europe

2.3.2.3     Asia Pacific

2.3.2.4     Latin America

2.3.2.5     Middle East and Africa

2.4   Market Challenges and Risks

2.4.1     Funding Challenges

2.4.2     Interoperability and Standards

2.4.2.1     International Standards

2.4.3     Security Concerns

2.4.3.1     Access Control

2.4.3.2     Data Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy

2.4.3.3     Data Separation

2.4.4     Market Shifts and Changes

3.     Technology Issues

3.1   Private Wireless Networking Requirements

3.1.1     AMI-NAN Networks

3.1.1.1     Data Requirements

3.1.1.2     Speed & Latency

3.1.1.3     Cost Issues

3.1.1.4     Networking Requirements

3.1.2     AMI-WAN Networks

3.1.2.1     Data Requirements

3.1.2.2     Speed & Latency

3.1.2.3     Cost Issues

3.1.2.4     Networking Requirements

3.1.3     DA-WAN Networks

3.1.3.1     Data Requirements

3.1.3.2     Speed & Latency

3.1.3.3     Cost Issues

3.1.3.4     Networking Requirements

3.1.4     SA-WAN Networks

3.1.4.1     Data Requirements

3.1.4.2     Speed & Latency

3.1.4.3     Cost Issues

3.1.4.4     Networking Requirements

3.1.5     Mobile Workforce Communications Networks

3.1.5.1     Data Requirements

3.1.5.2     Speed & Latency

3.1.5.3     Cost Issues

3.1.5.4     Networking Requirements

3.2   Smart Grid Private Wireless Communications

3.2.1     Private Versus Public Networks

3.2.2     Key Benefits and Challenges of Private Networks

3.2.3     Frequency Allocations

3.2.4     Licensed Versus Unlicensed Spectrum

3.2.5     Current and Future Utilization of Private Networks by Utilities

3.2.6     Comparison Table of Various Private Wireless Technologies

3.2.7     Private RF Mesh Technologies

3.2.7.1     Performance

3.2.7.2     End-to-end Bandwidth

3.2.7.3     Latency

3.2.7.4     Robustness

3.2.7.5     Range

3.2.7.6     Reliability & Survivability

3.2.7.7     Security

3.2.7.8     Costs

3.2.7.9     Vendor Capability Summary

3.2.8     Proprietary Pt2MPt

3.2.8.1     Performance

3.2.8.2     End-to-end Bandwidth

3.2.8.3     Latency

3.2.8.4     Robustness

3.2.8.5     Range

3.2.8.6     Reliability & Survivability

3.2.8.7     Security

3.2.8.8     Costs

3.2.8.9     Vendor Capability Summary

3.2.9     Private Wi-Fi

3.2.9.1     Performance

3.2.9.2     End-to-end Bandwidth

3.2.9.3     Latency

3.2.9.4     Robustness

3.2.9.5     Range

3.2.9.6     Reliability & Survivability

3.2.9.7     Security

3.2.9.8     Costs

3.2.9.9     Vendor Capability Summary

3.2.10   Private LTE

3.2.10.1   Performance

3.2.10.2   End-to-end Bandwidth

3.2.10.3   Latency

3.2.10.4   Robustness

3.2.10.5   Range

3.2.10.6   Reliability & Survivability

3.2.10.7   Security

3.2.10.8   Costs

3.2.10.9   Vendor Capability Summary

3.2.11   Private WiMAX

3.2.11.1   Performance

3.2.11.2   End-to-end Bandwidth

3.2.11.3   Latency

3.2.11.4   Robustness in Face of Interference

3.2.11.5   Range (Either Single-hop Distance or Overall Network Diameter)

3.2.11.6   Reliability & Survivability

3.2.11.7   Security

3.2.11.8   Costs

3.2.11.9   Vendor Capability Summary

3.2.12   Other Proprietary Solutions

3.3   Primary Opportunities and Challenges for Private Wireless Technology

3.3.1     Technical Issues

3.3.2     Operational Issues

3.3.3     Regulatory Issues

4.     Key Industry Players

4.1   Airspan Networks

4.2   Cisco Systems

4.3   Elster Group

4.4   FreeWave Technologies

4.5   GE Energy

4.6   Itron

4.7   Landis+Gyr

4.8   Motorola Solutions, Inc.

4.9   On-Ramp Wireless

4.10 RuggedCom

4.11 S&C Electric Company

4.12 Sensus

4.13 Silver Spring Networks

4.14 Tait Communications

4.15 Trilliant

4.16 Tropos Networks (ABB)

5.     Market Forecasts

5.1   Introduction

5.2   Forecast Methodology

5.2.1     Unit Forecasts, Revenue Forecasts, and Average Selling Prices

5.3   Private Wireless Communications Forecasts: Global

5.4   Private Wireless Communications Forecasts: North America

5.5   Private Wireless Communications Forecasts: Europe

5.6   Private Wireless Communications Forecasts: Asia Pacific

5.7   Private Wireless Communications Forecasts: Latin America

5.8   Private Wireless Communications Shipment and Revenue Forecasts: Middle East and Africa

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments Mix by Technology, World Markets: 2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Smart Grid Networking Architectural Model
  • Mesh Network Configurations
  • Star Network Configuration

List of Tables

  • FAN Applications, Objectives, and Benefits
  • Smart Grid Functionalities and Communications Needs
  • Technology Comparisons
  • Range, Link Speeds, Interference Rejection, and Potential Applications
  • Selected Vendor Solution Profiles
  • Selected Vendor Solution Profiles Continued
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Broken Out by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Broken Out by Application, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, North America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, Europe: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Asia Pacific:  2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, Asia Pacific: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Latin America:  2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, Latin America: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications ASP by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Application, Middle East & Africa:  2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Shipments by Technology, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Broken Out by Application, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node ASP by Technology, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue by Technology, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020
  • Private Wireless Communications Node Unit Revenue, Without AMI-NAN, by Technology, Middle East & Africa: 2011-2020

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