Research: Utilities increasingly relying on mobile networks for smart grid initiatives

A new report from Pike Research indicates that utilities are increasingly relying on public mobile networks to support their smart-grid efforts.

The firm said that the ubiquitous nature, increasing data capacity, throughput and responsiveness of public cellular networks on a global basis makes them suitable--often in conjunction with private networks--for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications infrastructure of smart-grid systems.

"Public wireless networks are emerging as a more important complement to private utility communication networks," said Pike Research research director Bob Gohn. "Few utilities will rely on just one network, but cellular connectivity will be an important part of the mix in neighborhood area networks and wide area networks for smart meters, as well as other key applications like distribution automation, substation automation, and mobile workforce communications."

Pike Research predicts that the trend will result in 73 million cellular M2M communications nodes from 2011 through 2020. Revenue is expected to reach $1.9 billion during the forecast period. The firm said that 3G network technologies will account for about 54 percent of the total cellular M2M node market in the smart-grid sector, while 2G technologies will account for 25 percent. Meanwhile, emerging 4G technologies will become the fastest growing segment for the smart-grid market, with LTE networks forecast to grab a 19-percent share of the total utility market during the same forecast period. WiMAX networks are expected to account for 2 percent of the public carrier market for smart grid applications.

For more:
- see this Telecompetitor article

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