Segment the Smart Grid domains into different wireless environments/groups that could use similar sets of requirements. The Smart Grid “market” has many moving parts. There are hundreds of vendors, large and small, providing software, hardware and solutions at every layer of the market, from the physical power infrastructure layer to the communications layer, up to the applications and services layer. Countless technologies are being developed, evaluated and deployed. Competing and complimentary system- and network-level standards are being defined. Power providers are planning and implementing varying systems architectures.
Government policies are shaping the landscape at state and federal levels. Investments, private and public, are driving innovation at a scale large enough to match that of the problem itself. Consumer adoption for a new wave of energy services is unknown. Definitions as seemingly simple as what a Smart Grid is or should be are inconsistent and often debated. In a nutshell, it’s overwhelming and often confusing.
Smart Grid covers three industries/sectors:
- Electric Power (Energy)
- Telecommunications Infrastructure
- IT (Information Technology)
Each industry’s expertise is needed to provide one of three high-level layers of a complete and end-to-end Smart Grid and/or Intelligent Utility Network:
- The Physical Power Layer (transmission and distribution)
- The Data Transport and Control Layer (communications and control)
- The Application Layer (applications and services)
In order to have what is known as a true end-to-end Smart Grid, that is able to run applications back and forth from the utility to the consumer, an end-to-end communication network is needed. While utilities have for years had their own local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN) to transport data both within the utility’s headquarters and to and from the substation, the missing link in communications has been the network that could bridge the utility to the end user, and vice versa. The emergence and continued development of an end-to-end communications layer is responsible for advancing the Smart Grid revolution, as new applications will both improve and optimize the generation, delivery and consumption of electricity.
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