When it comes to wireless connectivity for smart grid applications, utilities have predominantly used unlicensed spectrum bands rather than acquiring licensed spectrum, in part because of the high cost. However, as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes pervasive, data transmission may slow or become unreliable, prompting utilities to consider the switch to licensed solutions. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, there are at least a dozen licensed spectrum options readily available and affordable for utilities today.
“While smart grid solutions that use unlicensed spectrum bands are readily available and have done the job for utilities to date, as more people and things become connected, there is a real risk of interference and performance degradation in unlicensed bands,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Utilities should consider licensed spectrum options for a variety of applications today and to ensure network control and capacity availability for the longer term.”
Spectrum ownership or other creative partnering or lease deals are expected to become more attractive—or even critical—to long-term utility solutions, according to the report. While networking investments are often driven by shorter-term rate case and regulator demands or specific application needs, licensed spectrum has advantages that will persist for utility owners (or leaseholders) for decades, providing those with exclusive rights a real competitive advantage.
The report, Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks, covers the options for and case studies of licensed wireless solutions for utilities and provides actionable recommendations for utilities. The study provides an overview of 17 licensed spectrum bands available for purchase or lease for utility applications and discusses the use cases and rationale for utility spectrum ownership over the long term. It explains the differences between leased and owned spectrum and describes emerging shared spectrum paradigms. The report also provides examples of utility spectrum purchases and discloses pricing trends. Private LTE options are discussed as well, including unlicensed LTE. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.
About Navigant Research
Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets. The team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Energy Technologies, Utility Transformations, Transportation Efficiencies, and Buildings Innovations sectors. Additional information about Navigant Research can be found at www.navigantresearch.com.
Navigant Consulting, Inc. is a specialized, global professional services firm that helps clients take control of their future. Navigant’s professionals apply deep industry knowledge, substantive technical expertise, and an enterprising approach to help clients build, manage and/or protect their business interests. With a focus on markets and clients facing transformational change and significant regulatory or legal pressures, the Firm primarily serves clients in the healthcare, energy and financial services industries. Across a range of advisory, consulting, outsourcing, and technology/analytics services, Navigant’s practitioners bring sharp insight that pinpoints opportunities and delivers powerful results. More information about Navigant can be found at navigant.com.
* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, Accessing Licensed Spectrum for Future-Proof Utility Networks, is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.