Prepare your smart meter network for the 2G/3G shutdown

Carriers are shutting down 2G and 3G networks to free up spectrum, leaving some utilities with a headache. What is the best practice with soon to be outdated smart meter networks? What is the best solution? And how can utilities structure a feasible migration plan?

Why is the 2G/3G shutdown important for smart metering?

A decommissioning has been made to shut down all 2G and 3G cellular networks internationally. This was done in order to free up spectrum for newer, faster 5G networks. However, this decision has had some unexpected consequences. 

One of the most significant is that many heat utilities have meters that rely on 2G or 3G signals to transmit data, and without that signal, they will be rendered inefficient.

As a result, heat utilities will need to replace these meters with newer models that use different technology. A task easier said than done, which involves the takedown of current networks and migrating to new smart meters and establishing a new network.

What is the 2G/3G shutdown?

Carriers are shutting down 2G and 3G networks around the globe to transition into newer networks like 5G. Devices relying on 2G or 3G networks won't be able to connect, once the decommissioning is final. The shutdown is already underway, varying among countries and carriers. 

For utilities and other organizations that rely on smart meters for data collection and communication, the switch to newer technology is essential. There are newer technologies available now that are more reliable, offer higher speeds, and will be essential for transmitting the large amounts of data generated by smart meters. 

The switch can also allow utilities to take advantage of new features, such as real-time monitoring and remote meter reading. The shutdown of 2G and 3G networks is a major change for the utility industry, but one that is necessary to ensure reliable data collection and communication in the future.

Looking beyond cellular technology for utilities and smart metering

There are a number of different technologies that are currently being used in smart meters, and each one has its own set of unique advantages and drawbacks. 

The recent 3G shutdown has left many organizations scrambling to find new solutions to meet their connectivity needs. However, there are a number of different technologies available that are not affected by this shutdown, such as NB-IoT, LinkIQ, wireless M-Bus, and LoRaWAN.

For example, NB-IoT has become popular in recent years due to its low energy usage and reliable transmission. 

In contrast, other technologies such as linkIQ and wireless M-Bus are continuing to be viable options even without 3G support. These two technologies work via mesh networks and can transmit data over much longer distances than NB-IoT. Additionally, they are resilient to environmental factors like temperature fluctuations and noise interference. 

If you want a more in depth comparison of the technologies, you can see our comparison chart of the communication technologies here.

Finding a solution to the 2G/3G shutdown

With the impending shutdown of the 2G and 3G network, heat utilities relying on these networks are looking at a frustrating choice. Even though the networks are still in operation, the quality is already decreasing, forcing many businesses to take action and invest in new infrastructure. 

Below, we have helped you a step closer to a migration solution, whether you are using Radio Mesh, Point-to-Point or READy Concentrator solutions.

Frequently asked questions