3 Goals Utilities Achieve with LTE Wireless Private Networks

3 Goals Utilities Achieve with LTE Private Wireless Networks

Todd Owen

There is no doubt that the utility industry in North America is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. As various technologies on which they depend evolve, so do they. Internet of Things, smart power grids, cloud services, and private networks are on top of the list. These are the most transformative technologies bringing improved reliability, affordability, and convenience to utility provision today.

However, of all the transformative technologies, the most notable today are private networks. A dependable and secure wireless connectivity is critical for utilities. For this reason, utility companies have had private wireless networks for decades and strive to keep up with their improvements.

A lot can be said on the benefits of LTE private networks to utilities, but you would only need to know how these companies benefit from understanding why these networks are the future of utility services. Here are the top three goals that utility companies achieve by investing in LTE Private Networks.

1. Seamless IT/OT integration

Modern utility companies have to grapple with the problems of two worlds:

The first is the physical world with electromechanical machines, manufacturing systems, and industrial equipment. This world relies on and deals with operational technology (OT) systems.

The second is a newer IT world of servers and data storage, information transmissions, networks, and data processing devices.

The convergence of operational and information technologies (OT and IT) has led to the need for seamless integration in utilities. The handful of companies that have taken steps to integrate OT/IT has discovered the boon of efficiency that it brings.

LTE Private Networks help utilities streamline their internal processes and enhance data connectivity integration. FCC’s ruling to open up opportunities for advanced connectivity for utilities in 2020 opened the floodgates for broadband data platforms to develop and deploy modern and faster connectivity platforms. These platforms, such as LTE Private Networks, are presently driving digital transformations in the utility sector.

The benefits of LTE Private Networks to utilities extend beyond faster and more dependable data transfer and operational efficiencies. They also bring such benefits as:

LTE Private Networks have unlocked the full potential of data for utilities that have invested in them. Highly-connected and innovative utility companies keen on adapting to the fourth industrial revolution realize the role played by connectivity in creating new business models and meeting customer expectations.

Utility Worker at Telecommunications Cabinet

2. Enhanced SCADA and End-to-End Encryption

LTE networks have brought mainstream technologies to the utility sector. As a standard connectivity technology adapted for commercial markets, it allows for backward and forward compatibility. As a result, private LTE networks offer greater benefits for utilities regardless of the nature of devices they use or their data transfer needs.

Different utility companies have different connectivity and data transfer needs. The services of natural gas, electricity, sewerage and dams companies are classified as ‘basic,’ and their communications are considered mission-critical. In their modernization efforts, utilities that rely on SCADA applications will find it easier to integrate their devices and protocols safely into LTE Private Wireless networks.

Data security concerns are on top of the reasons for businesses and organizations to invest in private networks. The right private wireless networks for utilities are those that offer fully encrypted end-to-end service. This will decrease the potential for any malicious attacks on the service in the first place.

Proper data and device security are essential for any utility service. The network should have proactive security measures such as encrypting and managing local credentials and securing sensitive data and their backups.

As cyber attackers become more sophisticated, network defenders create and deploy ever-more effective and powerful mechanisms to counter them. The ideal LTE Private Wireless Networks for utilities should feature tools to prevent, discover, forestall, and recover systems from security incidents.

Unsurprisingly, LTE is security-focused by design. It features robust and up to date security features classified into five distinctive layers:

  1. User domain security
  2. Application domain security
  3. Network domain security
  4. Network access security
  5. Network visibility and security configuration

As evidenced in these security layers and features, security was a core tenet in creating LTE networks. It allows more granular control of a private network, making stand-alone security between connections practical. Utilities with an LTE Wireless Private Network have less to worry about security-wise compared to those relying on public LTE or other wireless network types.

3. Robust and Resilient Private Network

Today, utility companies should invest in LTE Private Wireless Networks because they are robust state-of-the-art communication technologies that empower other advancements, including smart grids, cloud services, and IoT applications.

LTE private wireless networks offer many benefits to utility companies, the most notable being support for multiple applications on one technology platform. In addition, being a global standard, LTE Private Networks are future-proof, offer an increased capacity, and are resilient in the face of the rapid evolution of every other associated technology or device.

Once rolled out, an LTE Wireless Private Network offers utilities substantial benefits, top among them:

Robust and isolated security: A secure private LTE wireless network features end-to-end encryption that will not allow unauthorized devices to connect to it.

Comprehensive edge-computing capacity: Utility companies rely on isolated IoT and special-purpose devices to deliver services. It is critical that these devices connect to a local secure network. LTE dramatically improves the performance and potential of these devices and applications.

Reliability and low-latency: An LTE Wireless Private Network can provide a low-latency high-speed connection that enables real-time analysis and monitoring of devices. The utility company can personalize such a network to be backward-compatible for their current devices and forward-compatible for future upgrades.

the TELiG E1500 powerful computing platform utilizing the latest LTE technology, with the carrier-class LTE Advanced small cell eNodeB AirSpeed 1030

Council Rock CBRS Starter Kit

Combine the TELiG E1500 powerful computing platform utilizing the latest LTE technology, with the carrier-class LTE Advanced small cell eNodeB AirSpeed 1030.

Council Rock Professional Field Services

We provide site services, field crews, and installation services for all of your wireless network deployments including 4G/5G and most proprietary radio technologies.

Council Rock Private Networks

The TELiG E1500 connects multiple private commercial carriers, Anterix Band 8 and CBRS for increased network resiliency, and end to end SCADA management.

An LTE Wireless Private Network should be a strong consideration for any utility company concerned with its networks, security, and processes. This is the ideal network protocol for applications and systems that demand speed, reliability, and performance.

Would you like to learn more about LTE Wireless Private Networks and practical use cases in your utility sector? Contact CouncilRock private LTE wireless experts today to learn more.

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