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LTE | Connecting Futures

Funding mechanismNetwork Innovation Allowance (NIA)
DurationJan 2020 - Jul 2021
Estimated expenditure£1.152M
Research areaNetwork improvements and system operability, Transition to low carbon future, New technologies and commercial evolution, Safety, health and environment
  • January 2021

    COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and will be reviewed again in February. Access to the lab in Taunton is restricted to only one member of Western Power …


The objective of the project is to develop learning on:

  • Confirmation that LTE is a suitable solution for providing communications for the energy industry
  • Confirmation regarding using an Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) or Time Division Duplex (TDD) system
  • Confirmation on bandwidth requirements
  • Confirmation on types of data that can be passed over an LTE system
  • Confirmation on antenna solutions for different situations
  • Confirmation on training requirements and test equipment for staff


Although the precise nature of the energy distribution networks of the future is still emerging, it has become clear that WPD’s plans for the roll-out of Active Management functionality will require much greater levels of enhanced and near real-time monitoring and control throughout the network. This will require a much more sophisticated and resilient telecommunications network than has been required in the past. The telecommunications network will need to be connected to a much greater number of points and be designed to carry greater volumes of data traffic. The recent Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) funded ‘Next Generation Wireless Telecoms’ analysis concluded that a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network would deliver the connectivity required to support this Smart Grid network up to 2030 and beyond.

No energy utility or sector service provider has carried out a multi-site, multi-vendor LTE trial with adjacent Evolved Node Bs (’eNodeB’ - equipment for one base station) in a ‘real’ energy environment. The planned network would mimic on a small scale the type of network which would be deployed as part of the roll-out of Active Management functionality and a migration to a Smart Grid network including the deployment of this radio technology across multiple DNO licence areas.