Telefónica Germany is exploring the potential of LTE for use with smart meters, in tests with Ericsson and the E.ON Research Center at RWTH Aachen University.
Recent trials have used LTE prioritisation as a means of replacing powerline or fixed network connections to smart meters. Ericsson said LTE proved a more flexible and reliable means of connection, compared to other types of connectivity.
By using an Ericsson base station, the smart meters can transmit information in less than 100 milliseconds to an energy provider's central IT system.
Energy companies are increasingly shifting to smart meters as a means of managing their networks more efficiently as they introduce more renewable sources. By using the prioritisation technology, energy companies can ensure meter traffic is not interrupted even when the wider network faced disruption.
Last month Telekom Austria Group became the first operator to introduce an LTE smart meter in its home market.
Dr. Fiona Willliams, Research Director Ericsson, said: “The trials we have run with Telefónica and RWTH ACS show that LTE is an excellent communications option for utilities rolling out Smart Meters. We were happy to see that the QoS features of LTE fully met the communication requirements for power network automation, which are far more stringent than other requirements specifications for smart meter measurement acquisition.”
Sven Koltermann, Head of Energy Sales in Telefónica Germany, said: “We see the trial results as confirmation that public LTE networks, such as Telefónica Germany’s, offer a reliable and cost effective communications option to utilities companies deploying smart meters. Such mechanisms for the utilities and their grid stability should always be introduced in close cooperation with German regulatory bodies.”