Tuesday, December 07, 2010

HomePlug's smart grid solutions get appliance manufacturers' stamp of approval

HomePlug Powerline Alliance's influence in the emerging smart grid arena continues to grow as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) gave its thumbs up for the HomePlug's Green PHY (GP) as a sound protocol for smart grid applications.

What's compelling about this designation for the powerline community is that AHAM member's presence is far reaching. To date, AHAM's members produce over 95 percent of the appliances sold in the U.S. alone.

The AHAM recently commissioned a study of to see what communications protocols are the most suitable for connecting appliances to the Smart Grid.

Focusing on communications protocols selected in the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid interoperability standard release 1.0 and candidate protocols recommended by AHAM, the study scored each protocol in 21 categories such as interoperability, cost to install and operate, performance, ease of operation and use, security and others.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Case for Powerline Communications

Smart grid watchers spend a lot of time arguing about ZigBee versus Wi-Fi, or public versus private wireless networks. But what if the answers to these debates lie in the wiring? Power line carrier (PLC) technology (sending data over the same lines that carry electricity) has some nice advantages for communicating over household wiring and along the power lines that make up the grid. In fact, in my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), I make the case that PLC may be set to capture a bigger share of the smart grid market than it has had so far.
That’s a bold assertion, given that wireless is king in all the major smart meter deployments and home energy networking plans underway in the U.S. today. But in Europe, PLC is taking a far larger role. Italy’s network of 30 million smart meters runs on PLC, based on technology from Echelon, and France and Spain are looking to PLC as their main way to link up multi-million-smart-meter networks that extend nationwide. Then there’s China, which wants a low-cost PLC technology to connect tens of millions of its households.