5G-Powered IoT Helps Utilities Efficiently Transition to Clean Energy

5G-powered IoT helps utilities efficiently transition to clean energy.

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Natacha Baroni, Head of Energy Product Marketing at T-Mobile for Business

The energy industry is transitioning rapidly from fossil to renewable fuels and from centralized to distributed networks. To make the transition in an efficient, dependable, secure, and environmentally friendly way, utilities are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) for energy management.

Increasingly, they’re relying on the 5G mobile network for the connectivity needed. Although 5G is known for high speed, broad bandwidth, low latency, and robust security, there’s actually more than one bandwidth choice—and the highest frequency band isn’t always the best for your utility.

Let’s take a closer look at the IoT, 5G connectivity, and how to choose the best frequency band for your applications.

IoT use cases

Energizing utilities with IoT.

The IoT network links sensors, actuators, and other smart devices, plus communication technologies that enable data transfer. IoT apps let you control the system, select preferences, and configure new devices.

How does 5G play a role in the clean energy transition?

5G connectivity is essential to transmit collected data to the cloud or edge computing devices and return commands that govern IoT devices. The continuous stream of IoT data also gives you insight that can improve operating and business decisions.

Following are four common IoT use cases in the utilities sector:

• Operational efficiency—From tracking energy use in real time to monitoring for faults, leaks, and fatigue, smart devices automate manual operations, saving staff time and letting them focus on higher-level issues.

• Mission-critical operations—IoT devices offer energy solutions like up-to-the-minute information on system metrics, including health, performance, and efficiency, helping to ensure your utility always meets requirements for reliability.

• Cybersecurity—Detecting intruders and hazards keeps infrastructure secure, but utilities also require strong authorization and authentication protocols like those integral to 5G to protect the network to the highest standards. 5G and IoT can help secure critical technologies and applications that connect to the cloud.

• Energy efficiency—An IoT-enabled system can fine-tune energy generation and use to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reducing environmental impact.

Frequency bands

Understanding the 5G multiple frequency bands.

The blazing speed possible is only one advantage of 5G—ultralow latency and the potential to connect millions of devices are other pluses. You often hear about high-band frequencies with 5G, but it’s the conventional lower-frequency bands that will carry much of the load. Here’s what each band can do for you: 

High-band—The millimeter-wave frequency portion of 5G (24-40 GHz) functions over a shorter radius, making it useful in busy urban areas that cover just a few blocks. The signal is disrupted by buildings, glass, and vegetation, which can be a drawback.

Mid-band—Mid-band frequencies (1-6 GHz) achieve a balance between coverage and capacity. Base stations can transmit and receive high-capacity signals over fairly large areas, an ideal mix in metro areas.—Mid-band frequencies (1-6 GHz) achieve a balance between coverage and capacity. Base stations can transmit and receive high-capacity signals over fairly large areas, an ideal mix in metro areas.

Low-band—Rolling out substantial 5G coverage quickly—for instance, in rural areas—calls for frequencies below 1 GHz. T-Mobile has deployed the 600 MHz spectrum nationwide. A low-band cell site can cover hundreds of square miles and download data at a rate of 30-75 Mbps, offering solid performance for IoT apps. Signals pass easily through buildings, offering solid coverage indoors and outdoors, and can connect parts of rural America where even fixed broadband doesn’t measure up.

Our role

T-Mobile can help.

We understand the benefits that IoT energy solutions can offer your utility. We can help meet your connectivity needs now and lay the foundation for the future with low- and mid-band 5G. For further information, contact T-Mobile for Business.

T-Mobile has America’s largest and fastest 5G network, imagined for tomorrow but ready to give you an edge today. At T-Mobile for Business, we’re focused on providing your business with connectivity solutions and the dedicated, exceptional service you need to help you stay ahead. T-Mobile experts will work with you from beginning to end to help you select a network solution and achieve your modernization goals. To learn more about how T-Mobile is fueling digital transformation for today’s energy companies, visit our energy industry page.

About the author:

Natacha Baroni.

Natacha Baroni is the Head of Energy Product Marketing at T-Mobile for Business, with over a decade of experience enabling customers in the energy industry improve efficiency, digital transformation, and safety. Specializing in marketing and product management, Natacha uses her experience to bring industry and customer perspectives into the development of business initiatives and go to market strategies to best meet industry needs.

Natacha holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MBA from Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis.

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