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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Harris

NB-IoT is a Great Option for Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Over the past 10 years or so I have been researching and monitoring the latest utility network infrastructure options for water, wastewater, electric and gas utilities. For operational applications such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Distribution Automation (DA), Distributed Energy resources (DER), and many other utility industry acronyms, the discussions about the telecommunications infrastructures have shifted from wired vs. wireless, mesh vs. point-to-multipoint vs. star, public LTE vs. private LTE, and now broadband vs. narrowband. As the cliché goes, there is no one right answer for all.

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises unlimited opportunities and possibilities for all kinds of utilities, including water and wastewater. New IoT technologies are growing at a staggering rate. To provide optimum value, IoT devices must be connected to the right network infrastructure. Each utility application has its own set of requirements for connectivity, bandwidth, latency, power consumption and more.

Until recently, there was no reliable infrastructure available offering low-power, low-cost and long-range capabilities. For smart devices deployed in challenging locations with little or no wireless connectivity, this was a problem. Without reliable connectivity, customers and utility companies are unable to experience the many benefits these devices offer.

The answer to the problem is Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). So much more than just another radio standard, NB-IoT provides extended battery life, extended range and the ability to install and maintain smart sensors at a much lower cost. For water and wastewater utility companies that need every single smart sensor they own to connect, regardless of where they are deployed, NB-IoT is a great option.

For any smart water use case the network must be reliable and resilient, but to achieve true intelligence, near real-time communication utilities are seeking flexibility at every level of their business. One company has Network-as-a-Service offerings over private LTE NB-IoT network giving the utilities an alternative way to get the most out of their investment in the long run and being prepared for whatever needs may arise in the future.

With its inherent qualities - like the potential for delivering true interoperability and insensitivity to disturbances from other systems - NB-IoT ticks more boxes than most communication technologies and is worth considering for a lot of utilities, specially rural water, electric, wastewater and gas services.

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