NB-IoT connected smart meters to improve gas metering in ShenzhenChina Telecom
Networks & Connectivity - NB-IoT
Sensors - Utility Meters
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
Improved efficiency – NB-IoT can reduce costs of operations for Shenzhen Gas by allowing real-time data analysis and prompt troubleshooting, which decreases the operational costs and improves operations efficiency.
Data security – End-to-end security management of the NBIoT gas solution ensures data integrity. NB-IoT is only used by mobile network operators on licensed spectrum. This means that risk of interference is minimized and data security can be assured. As NB-IoT networks are based on existing mobile technology, they are easily deployed by mobile operators, and the enhanced coverage these networks offer ensures that all meters can be connected, removing the need to use multiple network types to obtain data.
Improved power consumption – NB-IoT devices running on battery power can last up to 10 years. This is due to optimized communications profiles and low-power signal requirements. This means that meter maintenance costs can be minimized, as there is no need to visit meters and update components on a regular basis. Gas meters are also free to be located in any location along a pipeline; there is no need to locate gas meters close to power supplies or in specific areas to ensure network coverage. This gives the gas supplier a great deal of flexibility in how they roll out their gas smart meters, and the rollout programme can be optimized to ensure the lowest cost installation.
NB-IoT has significant coverage advantages over other networks (up to 20dB over GPRS networks).
The coverage delivered in field tests was good with an average uplink rate of 13 kbps and an average downlink rate of 7.8 kbps, which is sufficient for meter reading.
A trial was designed to simulate communications to 3 million meters within a 200 minute window. Various commands were simulated, including registration, meter readings, payments and valve control. The results of this trial were also very positive, with NB-IoT demonstrating that the average response time is 640ms, with data collected from every device within 60 seconds of first communication, averaging 30 seconds across all 3 million meters. NB-IoT proved that it is suitable for use in smart gas meters, even at this large scale, and is clearly a good option for connecting large fleets of smart gas meters in the future.