Communication Technologies and Standards_IEEE.pdf

Ii c ommunications t echnologies a vailable for s

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II. C OMMUNICATIONS T ECHNOLOGIES A VAILABLE FOR S MART G RIDS A communications system is the key component of the smart grid infrastructure [1], [14], [16]. With the integration of ad- vanced technologies and applications for achieving a smarter electricity grid infrastructure, a huge amount of data from dif- ferent applications will be generated for further analysis, con- trol and real-time pricing methods. Hence, it is very critical for electric utilities to define the communications requirements and find the best communications infrastructure to handle the output data and deliver a reliable, secure and cost-effective ser- vice throughout the total system. Electric utilities attempt to get customer’s attention to participate in the smart grid system, in order to improve services and efficiency. Demand side manage- ment and customer participation for efficient electricity usage are well understood, furthermore, the outages after disasters in existing power structure also focus the attention on the impor- tance of the relationship between electric grids and communi- cations systems [1]. Different communications technologies supported by two main communications media, i.e., wired and wireless, can be used for data transmission between smart meters and electric utilities. In some instances, wireless communications have some advantages over wired technologies, such as low-cost infrastructure and ease of connection to difficult or unreachable areas. However, the nature of the transmission path may cause the signal to attenuate. On the other hand, wired solutions do not have interference problems and their functions are not dependent on batteries, as wireless solutions often do. Basically, two types of information infrastructure are needed for information flow in a smart grid system. The first flow is from sensor and electrical appliances to smart meters, the second is between smart meters and the utility’s data centers. As sug- gested in [17], the first data flow can be accomplished through powerline communication or wireless communications, such as ZigBee, 6LowPAN, Z-wave, and others. For the second infor- mation flow, cellular technologies or the Internet can be used. Nevertheless, there are key limiting factors that should be taken into account in the smart metering deployment process, such as time of deployment, operational costs, the availability of the technology and rural/urban or indoor/outdoor environment, etc. The technology choice that fits one environment may not be suitable for the other. In the following, some of the smart grid communications technologies along with their advantages and disadvantages are briefly explained. An overview of smart grid communication technologies can be found in Table I. A. ZigBee ZigBee is a wireless communications technology that is rela- tively low in power usage, data rate, complexity, and cost of de- ployment. It is an ideal technology for smart lightning, energy monitoring, home automation, and automatic meter reading, etc.
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