Smart Meters & Intelligent Metering: Secure data transmission with M2M SIM cards

The digitalisation of the energy sector is in full swing and will fundamentally change the energy market in the coming years. The resulting opportunities are huge - as are the challenges. For example, an increasing number of decentralised energy generation plants means that we will have to rethink and organise the distribution and control of electricity. Intelligent metering systems such as smart meters and M2M communication will play an important role in this.

Smart meters with M2M SIM cards

M2M communication for networking all network participants

One of the biggest challenges of the energy transition is to provide decentralized energy - for example from solar and wind - in line with consumer demand. This not only depends on storage options, but also on the expansion of grids and the efficient provision and distribution of energy. And: intelligent technologies that continuously collect, analyze and exchange data between all grid participants - from producers, suppliers and grid operators to consumers. Devices that collect and exchange this data are known as smart meters.

They are something like a digital electricity meter that automatically transmits current consumption and measured values at set intervals via mobile communications, for example. Such intelligent electricity meters have been mandatory since the beginning of 2020 and have been rolled out gradually since then. Smart meters provide end consumers with more transparency about their energy consumption, while in return they help energy producers to balance feed-in and feed-out. Digital metering technology significantly improves the quality of data and billing. In addition, the consumption values are not only available once a year, but on a daily basis. This helps, for example, in the event of a change of tenant, while electricity producers can base their demand planning on actual consumption. In addition to smart meters, intelligent meter reading systems also include smoke alarms that can be read out wirelessly. Instead of checking them on site, they can be serviced remotely and send status updates independently and automatically via radio.

Smart Meter: Smart metering systems in the Internet of Things

They transmit data to metering point operators, grid operators or electricity suppliers: smart meters, small intelligent metering systems. Such a smart metering system usually consists of two parts: a digital metering device and a communication system, also known as a smart meter gateway. This gateway is used for mobile data transmission, usually via mobile communications and the LTE standard.

For this reason, the communication unit usually also contains a SIM card. Unlike a smartphone, however, this is an M2M SIM card, which is specially designed for data transmission from a device to a system (machine-to-machine, M2M).

Data transmission via mobile radio: M2M SIM cards for smart meters

Mobile radio is a widespread option for transmitting the data collected by a smart meter. For smart meters, mobile radio has the advantage that the technology and infrastructure is available almost everywhere. Modern wireless standards such as NB-IoT and LTE-M also enable all consumption data to be transmitted without interference, even in large buildings with many parties. The data from the smart meter is automatically transmitted encrypted via radio to a database and collected there.

Smart meters with M2M SIM cards, for example from wherever SIM, have access to the mobile network. The SIM cards can use the networks of different network operators and thus guarantee the best network coverage at a location throughout Germany and beyond its borders. M2M SIM cards for smart meters must be very small due to the size of the digital meters. We offer our SIM cards in all common formats - mini, micro, nano and embedded SIM.

Unlike the other formats, the embedded SIM is not inserted into an IoT device, but is instead permanently installed with it. This means that even less space is required for the module, which is particularly useful for small devices such as smart meters.

Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA): NB-IoT and LTE-M for Smart Metering

LPWA (Low-Power Wide-Area) networks are the perfect choice for IoT use cases where energy consumption, building penetration, battery life and, above all, costs are important. In these cases, in addition to Narrowband-IoT(NB-IoT), the mobile radio technology LTE for Machine Type Communication(LTE-M) can also be considered.

Both NB-IoT and LTE-M are radio standards based on existing mobile radio networks that connect end devices in the Internet of Things. These new wireless technologies are ideal for IoT applications that only need to transmit small amounts of data from time to time. They score points with their very low energy consumption and high building penetration. This means that they enable a good connection even in (underground) basements, garages, parking garages or other buildings with many obstacles for radio waves due to their long range. Digital meters in particular are often installed in basements or in shielded rooms, which can interfere with "normal" mobile communications.

As the data volumes for smart meters are generally very low, the radio modules can be limited to the most necessary functions. This saves power and increases battery life. This also makes NB-IoT interesting for IoT projects where networking used to be too complex and expensive. Corresponding M2M plans and SIM cards with LTE-M and NB-IoT coverage can be found at wherever SIM.

Smart Meters & Intelligent Metering: Secure data transmission with M2M SIM cards

Laura Gaber, M.Sc., is the longest-serving of our two Marketing Lauras. The Cologne native worked for several years as a communications all-rounder at EU level for the renewable energy sector. In 2016, Laura's curiosity drove her further afield - straight into the north and our arms. Since then, she has been dealing with the latest developments in digitalization, M2M communication and the IoT on a daily basis.


Laura Gaber
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Smart Meter

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