Communication Technologies and Standards_IEEE.pdf

Each meter acts as a signal repeater until the

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routes the metering data through nearby meters. Each meter acts as a signal repeater until the collected data reaches the elec- tric network access point. Then, collected data is transferred to the utility via a communication network. A private company, SkyPilot Networks uses mesh networking for smart grid appli- cations due to the redundancy and high availability features of mesh technology [37]. 1) Advantages: Mesh networking is a cost effective solu- tion with dynamic self-organization, self-healing, self-config- uration, high scalability services, which provide many advan- tages, such as improving the network performance, balancing the load on the network, extending the network coverage range [21]. Good coverage can be provided in urban and suburban areas with the ability of multihop routing. Also, the nature of a mesh network allows meters to act as signal repeaters and adding more repeaters to the network can extend the coverage and capacity of the network. Advanced metering infrastructures and home energy management are some of the applications that wireless mesh technology can be used for. 2) Disadvantages: Network capacity, fading and interfer- ence can be counted as the major challenges of wireless mesh networking systems. In urban areas, mesh networks have been faced with a coverage challenge since the meter density cannot provide complete coverage of the communications network. Providing the balance between reliable and flexible routing, a sufficient number of smart nodes, taking into account node cost, are very critical for mesh networks. Furthermore, a third party company is required to manage the network, and since the metering information passes through every access point, some encryption techniques are applied to the data for security purposes. In addition, while data packets travel around many neighbors, there can be loop problems causing additional overheads in the communications channel that would result in a reduction of the available bandwidth [20]. C. Cellular Network Communication Existing cellular networks can be a good option for com- municating between smart meters and the utility and between far nodes. The existing communications infrastructure avoids utilities from spending operational costs and additional time for building a dedicated communications infrastructure. Cel- lular network solutions also enable smart metering deployments spreading to a wide area environment. 2G, 2.5G, 3G, WiMAX, and LTE are the cellular communication technologies available to utilities for smart metering deployments. When a data transfer interval between the meter and the utility of typically 15 min is used, a huge amount of data will be generated and a high data rate connection would be required to transfer the data to the utility. For example, T-Mobile’s Global System for Mobile
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532 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS, VOL. 7, NO. 4, NOVEMBER 2011 Communications (GSM) network is chosen for the deployment of Echelon’s Networked Energy Services (NES) system. An embedded T-Mobile SIM within a cellular radio module will
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