In a Utility Dive article, Navigant Research explores the pros and cons of various utility networking options
As the market for networking options increases, utilities are faced with the challenge of changing strategies from an application-specific network to a more holistic, long-term approach.
In an article for Utility Dive, Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, examines utility networking, exploring how new technologies, purchasing models, and spectrum options have led to different strategies opportunities for utilities.
She identified the two biggest trends in utility networking centers as bringing connectivity to distribution-level substations, and ongoing deployment of field area networks (FAN) for both smart meters and distribution automation and DER integration.
“The first is a much less fractured but active space, particularly where landline phone companies are sunsetting copper network,” said Elberg. “Utilities need greater visibility for their high value assets in distribution substations as well as a robust wide area network for backhaul of data collected in the FAN.”
Overtime, Elberg believes that certain networking practices will become more heavily adopted among utilities. Investor-owned utilities are likely to consider using LTE network deployment while smaller municipalities may prefer low power wide area options within a networking as a service model.
Elberg predicts, “a massive change in both networking strategies and technology choices is coming over the next decade and beyond.”