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Nokia powers the grid in China for the world’s biggest utility company

Nordic comms tech giant’s WaveFabric supports power grid expansion with resilient, scalable optical network

The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is to deploy a programmable and agile optical network using Nokia’s IP and optical systems. The deployment is said to fulfil the data transmission and dynamic network demands of the power giant as it provides power to more than a billion residents across the country.

SGCC, which claims to be the world’s largest utility company, supplies electricity to more than 1.1 billion people across 26 provinces, covering 88% of China’s national territory. To cater to the increased mission-critical traffic requirements and to future-proof the network, it is upgrading the communications infrastructure to monitor and control the world’s largest utility grid, producing and transferring massive amounts of data across long distances.

The deployment of the new communications technology will enable SGCC to expand network coverage to more power stations and business offices, while increasing capacity and flexibility. It covers new deployments in Hebei, Hunan province and Chongqing municipality, as well as expansions in 10 other provinces, including Jibei, Jiangsu and Sichuan.

The deployment will see SGCC make use of Nokia’s WaveFabric optical systems to deliver what the comms technology provider says will be an agile and future-proof network that is reliable for critical and non-critical services, including operator assistance and support for businesses and multi-media services. It is also designed to provide provincial backbone bandwidth to connect high-voltage power stations and substations along the electricity transmission line.

Nokia said that, compared with traditional communication systems with wire cables, optical networks provide a more reliable, faster and higher-bandwidth network for data transmission. It added that reliable and resilient networks will allow for real-time decision-making and enhance operational productivity, which is key in an industry where outage management is a top priority.

By deploying an optical portfolio, SGCC and its customers will potentially be able to benefit from a network that can be upgraded to higher capacity/reliability, and one that is ready for smooth TDM and packet evolution to protect network investment. Also, with photonic service switches, the SGCC regional backbone can be optimised for high-capacity, multi-service support, and resilience, and will be ready for optical transport network (OTN) sinking extension in the future.

Nokia said SGCC will have improved and efficient control of operations via an application management tool that enables access control, real-time performance monitoring, customised reporting, efficiency improvement and a local language user interface.

Markus Borchert, president of Nokia Greater China, said the partnership with SGCC is a milestone for Nokia’s optical portfolio. “Data-driven insights are key to SGCC’s overall digital transformation as it looks to deliver safe, reliable electricity for more than one billion people,” he said. “We are proud to be playing a major role in developing this highly reliable transport network that will evolve how critical and non-critical grid communications are delivered.”

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