Using 5G to Bolster Communications Networks

In an article for Smart Cities Dive, Navigant Research says utilities should be careful not to overlook 5G as they consider long-term networking plans

With the proliferation of distributed generation, electric vehicles, and increasingly competitive operational environments, a utility’s ability to react quickly to shifting market dynamics will become critical to its long-term success.

In an article for Smart Cities Dive, Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, says, in the future, key to that nimbleness will be a robust communications network — ideally one that leverages 5G.

Elberg says while just a few years ago 5G was still fairly conceptual, today, it’s in testing and carriers worldwide are piloting the technology.

“The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards body will finalize the specifics of 5G networks in 2018, but already a great deal is known about the technology,” she said. 

According to the article, 5G networks will offer three types of networking capabilities: 

  • Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB): Promises up to 10 Gbps maximum throughput, latency of less than 5 ms, and support for up to 100 times more end users.
  • Massive machine-type communications (mMTC): Will be used for mission-critical applications where guaranteed latency of 1 ms is essential.
  • Ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC): Will provide 1,000 times more bandwidth than 4G in any given area, supporting the millions of dispersed sensors that will create the IoT.

“Utilities should not overlook the possibilities that a 5G network will open as they consider long-term networking plans,” Elberg said.

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