Wirepas Mesh expands rapidly in smart energy – more than 50 utilities worldwide already onboard. 5G Mesh deliveries starting. - Wirepas

Wirepas Mesh expands rapidly in smart energy – more than 50 utilities worldwide already onboard. 5G Mesh deliveries starting.

The future-savvy utilities already have their eyes on the next-generation 5G IoT connectivity technology, DECT-2020 NR, rapidly gaining ground. Already more than 50 utilities worldwide have chosen the first non-cellular 5G technology for their smart grids of tomorrow. They also work with Wirepas, whose 5G Mesh is the first DECT-2020 NR-based connectivity on the market.

Performance, cost, and future-proofness of the chosen connectivity are the most critical elements of a smart grid. Today’s smart metering projects aim to connect thousands and millions of meters to collect data cost-efficiently. As the scale becomes massive, traditional connectivity solutions are no longer affordable. Wirepas Mesh and the new non-cellular 5G connectivity standard for IoT, DECT-2020 NR, based on the Wirepas technology, were developed to meet the future needs of smart grids.

“We have seen an exponential interest in the Wirepas Mesh Wirepas Connectivity Suite. Already more than 50 utilities are working with our technology. Companies such as Elvia, Nettalliansen, and Lyse have quickly understood how the Wirepas Mesh allows their smart metering projects to afford the latest technology. They see how a smart meter is becoming a sensor of the grid. While significantly lowering the cost of deployments, it also has the potential to speed up smart metering and smart grid rollouts for a decentralized energy grid management,” says Jani Vehkalahti, Head of Smart Metering from Wirepas.

He continues: “Things are moving fast, and now we are about to release the industry's first 5G Mesh for our lead customer’s product development. Our lead customers are building smart metering and street lighting applications, with the first roll outs taking place in Q2 next year in Europe and APAC. During 2023 we are expanding in the US, LATAM, the Middle East, and Africa. During 2023 and use cases in the commercial building sector.”

Until today, cost-benefit analysis and other technological or regulatory barriers have created obstacles to the adoption and speedy rollout of smart grids. For example, in Europe, the EU mandated the member states already in 2014 to develop a regulatory framework in which 80% of households would have access to smart metering data by 2020. Many member states are far from the target.

One of the challenges has been the radio regulations in ISM bands. This has forced many European utilities to choose between Power Line Communication (PLC) and cellular (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G). In the US and India, radio regulations enable 800 MHz and 900 MHz ISM bands to be sufficient for Automatic Meter Reading (AMR). Nordic countries are a positive exception in Europe, with non-cellular wireless communication used very successfully in smart metering deployments. 

“The new 5G standard DECT-2020 NR+ can operate in the license-free 1900 MHz frequency band. This is great, especially for Europe, where 800 MHz-900MHz ISM bands are insufficient to provide the reliability required by future, more demanding smart grid and metering solutions. Apart from China, the license-free 1900 MHz band is available worldwide. Wirepas has been the key contributor to the new standard, and we are keen to see products based on it to solve the current smart metering challenges,” JaniVehkalahti continues.

Wirepas is currently exhibiting at ENLIT, an energy event in Frankfurt, from 29 November to 1 December. You can meet Wirepas at the stand of ESMIG, the European Association representing smart energy solution providers, where Wirepas actively contributes to the broader adoption of smart energy.

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