Fibocom, a leading provider of cellular embedded wireless module solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced in April that its two 5G supported IoT modules, FM150(W) and FG150(W), had completed the first successful data call using an end-to-end data transmission service under a Chinese Standalone (SA) Structured 5G network. Download speeds skyrocketed, exceeding more than 2.5Gpbs under the ENDC mode.
5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks. Its objective is to support three generic services with vastly heterogeneous requirements: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communications (mMTC), and ultra-reliable low-latency communications (uRLLC). These capabilities make future scenarios more flexible, reliable, and secure when providing diverse services in the intended usage scenarios. Both the Fibocom 5G modules FM150(W) and FG150(W) support 5G standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) network architectures, provide an integrated multi-network compatibility with 5G Sub 6 and millimeter-wave bands and work both with LTE and WCDMA standards. This gives customers an edge in harnessing the full power of 5G networks' faster data transmission, vast network capacity, and ultra-reliable low latency. The applications of Fibocom's 5G smart modules bring efficient cost-effective advantages to a vast number of industries. In this paper, we will look at the application of these 5G modules in the utility industry, specifically in smart grids. 5G Network Slicing Meets the Needs of Smart Grid Effectively The term "Grid" refers to an "Electric Grid" fundamentally describing the complete network which includes transmission lines, transformers, distribution substation and all accessories that are used for delivery of electricity from generation plants to home and commercial scale. These services require a flexible and orchestrated network, high reliability, and millisecond ultra-low latency for its diverse needs. Smart grid systems have provided the possibility of enabling two-way communication between electricity consumers and the distributor, thereby allowing distributors to manage and effectively handle electricity distribution. One of the primary reason technologies like smart grids are in place is because of the capabilities of 5G Network Slicing. 5G accommodates the connectivity requirements of multiple end-points and delivers flexibility at a low cost. In the era of 5G, heterogeneous services are allowed to coexist within the same network architecture utilizing network slicing. Network slicing allocates network computing, storage, and communication resources among the active services intending to guarantee their isolation and given performance levels. This strengthens the security, reliability, and control over the network by creating slices within the network. 5G IoT Modules Empowering Smart Grid Applications Production and control scenarios include intelligent distributed power, distribution automation, precise load control, distributed power control, supervisory monitoring, and fault localization. These scenarios aim to address power distribution network requirements, including ultra-low latency (15ms), ultra-reliable communication (99.999% reliability), and high-security isolation. Management and information scenarios include low-voltage power consumption information collection and smart grid video applications. Networks are required to meet 100 ms latency, 99.9999% reliability, and 4-100 Mbit/s bandwidth requirements, as well as thousands of connections per square kilometer. Line Differential Protection Future smart grids will look profoundly different from the power grids used today. The increased number of renewables, like solar panels, will increase the need for cost-efficient, reliable communication to ensure the correct operation of the grid. Using a 5G macro network in line differential protection can be handled with wireless ultra-reliable low latency communication. The protection service can be delivered on the same band handling Mobile Broadband traffic. Fibocom 5G modules embedded in the DTU can monitor the power line transmission status in real-time, anywhere, without using local wired deployment, thus lowering the costs of network deployments. UAV Inspection UAV inspection is an innovative and safe way for the assessment of transmission towers and power lines, eliminating human risk. UAV inspections are mainly for maintenance with drone cameras and robots to access dangerous areas. With 5G's high speed and network capacity, Fibocom's FM150(W) and FG150(W) enable data transmission of high-quality resolution (4K/8K) videos which require high bandwidth requirements of over 100Mbps. These devices transmit a crystal-clear view of the maintenance area, making it easier to identify problems in emergency repair scenarios, reducing labor costs, and grid downtime. Advanced Metering Automatic meter reading is adapted into smart meters, which leads to applications such as dynamic load management, time of day rates, and net metering to name a few. It has also fueled many behind-the-meter applications such as customer-owned renewables through advanced metering. Power companies, consumers, and first responders will gain real-time wireless control with 5G-enabled AMI networks, and a variety of sensors monitoring variables including electricity quality, temperature, pressure, rate of consumption, and more. These sensors send readouts directly to utility companies, where data is analyzed and reformatted into diagnostics that help users better understand their averages and monthly use comparisons. This usage information benefits users to improve their energy efficiency and costs. With 5G speeds and access already reaching the consumer market on a limited basis, we will see better performance, faster power reconnection after outages, and more cost-effective measures across AMI-equipped homes and facilities. 5G low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity facilitates this need with a longer battery life of devices using 5G enabled modules and expanded geographic coverage for connected devices. Advanced metering will reach its intended potential with the full rollout of 5G with the ability to have multiple end-point connections with 99.9% reliability. AI and Power Prediction A smart grid can help utilities conserve energy, reduce costs and carbon emissions, increase reliability and transparency, and make processes more efficient. By combining the current generation of these smart grid cutting-edge technologies with AI, it is possible to automatically adapt to changing conditions so prevalent and modify the grid as needed to improve efficiency. AI will ensure that smart grids are more user friendly by analyzing grid data, scenario and routine learning, and take action without any form of human intervention. 5G will support AI's high bandwidth and low latency requirements to improve power prediction patterns, energy production, and forecast usage more efficiently. Fibocom's 5G modules will aid in the transmission of the data required for AI to be functional in real-time. Conclusion Network slicing can create a customized industry-specific network for the power industry to better meet the security, reliability, and flexibility needs of smart grid services. 5G slicing technology can give priority to ensuring high-priority power services, and when necessary, through flexible slicing resource allocation to meet the needs of emergency security services. Fibocom's FM150(W) and FG150(W) 5G modules will enable the next leap in smart grids, reducing labor, costs, fossil fuel usage, and saving time. Eventually, leading to a sustainable greener environment. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]