Qualcomm and ZTE use 5G to make grids smarter

  • March 21, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Chinese technology company ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies have demonstrated end-to-end 5G time sensitive networking (TSN) for smarter, safer power grids.

This 5G achievement supports the expansion of grid services such as differential protection, and the accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to empower green grids.

Clean energy resources such as wind and solar are effective for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from thermal power generation within the power industry. However, they are affected by weather conditions, and regional instabilities can pose significant difficulties to integrating these renewable energy sources fully into power grids.

To incorporate renewable energy into power grids more efficiently with 5G remote precise grid control, ZTE integrated its time promised communication (TPC) with Qualcomm’s 3GPP Rel-16 TSN capable 5G R&D prototype device. The 5G TSN integration is key to meeting the wide coverage, latency and density requirements of large-scale smart grid applications while ensuring the security and stability of the power grid.

This collaboration for end-to-end 5G TSN for smart grids can accelerate the expansion of 5G across mission-critical applications.

The wireless TPC brings efficient scalability for large, distributed renewable energy projects. It can replace optic fibre in harsh environments with deterministic wireless last-kilometre connectivity to automate power grid management safely with line differential protection. In addition, it can bring capabilities to large power grids such as precise load control, achieving the efficient coordination of various types of energy resources including wind, solar, water, thermal and storage, under the condition of weather sensitivities and seasonal fluctuations.

“ZTE is committed to providing customers with high-quality connectivity services,” said Zhang Wanchun, senior vice president of ZTE. “Time promised communication can be committed to 5G networks, so that SLA can be guaranteed. ZTE has carried out wide cooperation with Qualcomm and industry partners to achieve in-depth integration of IT and OT, to help enterprises achieve flexible production, improve resource usage efficiency, and build a green and low-carbon industrial ecosystem.”

TPC can meet the requirements of mission-critical applications in the industrial IoT including power grid management, robot control, remote surgery and other applications, as well as improving operational efficiency in industry and enterprise use cases.

Moving forward, ZTE says it will continue to team up with industry partners to help industries and enterprises accelerate service innovation and realise value in digital transformation.

“Qualcomm continues to work closely with vendors such as ZTE to build an open 5G TSN ecosystem to benefit the industry,” said John Smee, senior vice president of engineering, at Qualcomm. “With TSN, 5G gains new momentum in high performance connectivity for multiple verticals with the support of a global ecosystem for standardisation and technology.”