5G labs to be used for Industrial IoT networks

| Information and Communication Technology

Nokia and EDF will work on the development of low power wide area 5G wireless networks to power communications on the Industrial IoT.

Nokia has been selected by French power utility EDF’s R&D unit to test the performance of Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless networking technologies – key emerging standards for Internet of Things (IoT) device connectivity – to support critical operations for industries. The two companies will engage in a comprehensive testing regime, among the first of its kind in the industry, exploring the capabilities of LPWA technologies to support real-world industrial applications. Nokia is EDF R&D’s exclusive partner for this effort.

EDF R&D will use Nokia TestHub Services in Nokia’s Device Testing Lab in France – which gives customers access to state-of-the-art, carrier-grade wireless infrastructure – when testing IoT/M2M objects, chipsets, modules and user devices across all wireless technologies and frequencies. This enables devices to be tested on real network infrastructure rather than a simulated network, which reduces guesswork in testing and analysis and minimises risks in advance of widespread commercial introduction.

The testing will compare IoT technology recently standardised by the 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) – including NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-Machine (LTE-M) (also known as enhanced Machine-Type Communications or eMTC) – with other emerging, largely unlicensed IoT technologies.

This agreement builds on Nokia’s strong track-record of providing mission-critical networks to industries, and highlights the company’s strong position in the emerging market for IoT connectivity. It also highlights the progress of Nokia’s strategy of expanding its customer base outside of the traditional telecommunications sphere, a key focus of the company’s diversification efforts.

Stéphane Tanguy, head of IT Systems, EDF R&D, said: “The Internet of Things offers tremendous opportunities for our group. Many applications can be enabled by IoT technology in various businesses from power generation to marketing. As the R&D engine of the EDF Group, it is our responsibility to characterise the objects, their connectivity, their integration into IoT platforms and the related end-to end cybersecurity properties. Among the connectivity options, it is essential that we understand the performance, the maturity and the adequacy of each technology for our different applications by an objective and agnostic approach. The cellular IoT technology elements (LTE-M and NB-IOT) are two major technology areas that we have decided to test with Nokia, which provides us with a very interesting test environment and valuable expertise to carry out these evaluations.”

Matthieu Bourguignon, head of Global Enterprise and Public Sector, Europe, for Nokia, said: “The use of IoT devices in industrial networks is in its infancy, but given the expected huge numbers of devices that will be deployed in the future, it is critical that our customers can evaluate the various technology options now before making substantial investments. Nokia’s Device Testing Lab, staffed by some of the most experienced wireless networking experts in the industry, will make it much easier for EDF to evaluate the performance of LPWA against other emerging technology and reduce the risk of future deployments.”

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