Anterix Enters into Agreements with Motorola, Nokia on Private LTE Solutions
Thursday, May 27, 2021 | Comments

Anterix entered into agreements with Motorola Solutions and Nokia to help facilitate the development of private LTE networks.

The collaboration with Motorola follows last year's announcement of Motorola’s Private Broadband for Critical Infrastructure platform, and the FCC's report and order enabling the transition of the 900 MHz band to broadband. Motorola Solutions is also a charter member of the recently established Anterix Active Ecosystem Program that brings together technology innovators to support Anterix customers deploying and operating private LTE on 900 MHz.

"Our low-band, licensed spectrum can provide utility companies with the ability to deploy a private LTE network platform that can deliver the advanced capabilities needed, as well as the control necessary as they evolve to a more advanced grid," said Anterix Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ryan Gerbrandt. "By working with Motorola Solutions to reduce the complexity and cost of deploying this private wireless broadband platform, Anterix is giving control back to the utility companies so that they can better serve their customers and communities."

Motorola Solutions' 900 MHz LTE broadband infrastructure includes the LXN 7900 radio access network (RAN) and core to provide critical wide-area coverage and long-range data communications. The system's core can be hosted on-premise or in the cloud, and it can simultaneously control the company's 900 MHz LTE network and its Nitro CBRS LTE network. The company's high-power EDG 4200 smart gateway enables the seamless exchange of intelligence across broadband networks, and its cloud-based interoperability platform, Critical Connect, allows for interoperability with LMR networks, as well as carrier-independent and integrated LTE networks.

"Today's utilities need secure, high-power and interoperable communications to address their end-to-end needs across voice, data and video," said Scott Schoepel, vice president, global enterprise, Motorola Solutions. "We are excited to leverage our long history in the delivery of mission-critical private networks and recent collaboration with Anterix to support robust innovation and continued grid modernization."

In January, Anterix and Motorola Solutions announced they would be assisting Xcel Energy in the evaluation of a private LTE solution to deliver greater grid intelligence, control and security. The network is being developed by Motorola Solutions using Anterix's 900 MHz spectrum and will be installed at two Xcel Energy sites in Minneapolis.

Nokia and Anterix’s agreement is designed to designed to accelerate the deployment of 900 MHz private LTE across the U.S. utility sector. The companies will work together to combine Anterix's "beachfront" 900 MHz spectrum with Nokia's industrial-grade private LTE/4.9 GHz wireless infrastructure so that utility companies can more easily deploy private LTE solutions that support advanced communications for modernizing their grids. Nokia is also a charter member of the recently announced Anterix Active Ecosystem Program that brings together technology innovators to support Anterix customers deploying and operating private LTE on 900 MHz.

As utilities incorporate new distributed renewable energy resources and storage into their grid, they are expected to require an advanced communications infrastructure to support that evolution. To process the vast amounts of data that come from monitoring and managing the multidirectional and intermittent flow of electricity, utilities will require a robust and technologically powerful communications platform that is private, secure, resilient and designed to meet their needs. By working together, Anterix and Nokia can provide utilities with a platform they can adopt to fulfill their objectives.

"Utilities who oversee critical infrastructure systems must insist on maintaining network control if they're going to manage the delivery of services effectively and efficiently," said Gerbrandt. "Our low-band, licensed spectrum can provide utilities with the capabilities they need to build their own 900 MHz private LTE networks with Nokia's state-of-the-art infrastructure."

The joint solution will include the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) platform and Nokia Modular Private Wireless (MPW) solution. The Nokia DAC is a compact application platform, comprising cellular network equipment and a cloud-based operation monitoring system offering reliable high-bandwidth, low-latency private wireless connectivity, local edge computing capabilities, and a catalog with applications such as voice and video services. Nokia MPW includes indoor and outdoor solutions that enable utilities to build private 4.9 GHz/LTE networks for small to very large industrial sites and field area networks. Both DAC and MPW can easily be upgraded to 5G to offer even higher capacity and ultra-low latency.

"Private LTE is the locomotive that's going to help carry the electric utility industry into the 21st century," said Matt Young, head of Nokia's Enterprise business in North America. "This collaboration will allow Nokia and Anterix to further expand the benefits of purpose-built, private wireless networks to utilities nationwide. Together, we will help them obtain the high-performance, low-latency connectivity they need for digitalization and automation of their grid operations to improve efficiency and realize carbon emission goals, while transforming their business models."

The push towards private LTE networks follows years of headlines regarding concerns about cyberattacks on the grid and system outages caused by weather and other natural disasters. The effort to leverage modern technology to enhance grid communications platforms has been accelerated since the FCC's decision regarding 900 MHz last year and the grant of numerous experimental licenses. Nokia and Anterix already have worked together with utilities on a range of these pilot projects, including with the New York Power Authority as announced last fall. This agreement expands the opportunity for the two companies to work together.

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