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Towards an open smart grid for distributed energy

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
14th June 2010

More details and links in the report here.


“Will the smart grid eventually follow the path of the Internet with truly open standards? Several up-and-coming companies are betting that the answer will be a resounding “yes” and are in the process of looking to sign up utilities and customers that want to embrace the open-standards smart grid vision. Among them is newcomer Arch Rock, which has been selling wireless network products for data centers and buildings for the past five years, and on Monday morning plans to announce its first smart grid wireless network product based completely on open standards.

Arch Rock’s network product, dubbed “PhyNet-Grid,” is designed to connect smart meters to the utility back office using wireless mesh technology — an architecture where each node can act independently and which is self-healing — and is based on the wireless standard created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) called “802.15.4g.” Arch Rock CEO Roland Acra tells me that the gear, which will be sold to third-party manufacturers first, not directly to utilities, is the first that is based “from top to bottom on open standards.”

Companies like Cisco, which has just awoken with its first smart grid products, and Silver Spring Networks have been developing smart grid wireless infrastructure that’s based on Internet Protocol (IP) but isn’t necessarily entirely based on open standards. “We’re using standardized radios, which is not the case with Silver Spring Networks,” explains Acra.”


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