IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2014 - 41

needs to be able to prioritize data transmissions
according to needs.
✔ Compatibility: during the process of upgrading the
existing grid to the smart grid, it is possible that multiple
legacy protocols that are incompatible with each other
will be used simultaneously in the operation network. as
mentioned earlier, protocol translators in the gS, tF, and
SS components can help alleviate such problems. the
WaMcn must employ a globally accepted protocol such
as the Internet Protocol (IP) to truly accommodate such
compatibility requirements, however.

Communications in the Consumer Network

and the environmental data collected by the sensors on those
appliances, the power level of these appliances may be automatically adjusted to reduce overall electricity costs. an
extra gateway is proposed to control access to the he component, for security reasons. this gateway provides security functions, such as an authenticity check, to protect the
appliances from being controlled by unauthorized parties.
the design of this new gateway is a critical area for future
research. More important, the communication protocol to be
used between the he and Sc components is awaiting development and standardization.
leM is present on the consumer network to accommodate
distributed energy generation, such as small-scale wind generation or solar panels, and/or larger energy storage devices,
such as electric vehicles, at a consumer's premises. With
these distributed generation and storage assets, a consumer
can actively participate in the electricity market by selling
stored electricity when the price is high and purchasing extra
electricity when the price is low. leM is under the control of
the Sc, and the decision is made largely based on the current
electricity price shown by the SM, which is in turn based
on the current electricity demand-supply relationship in the
market and the operational status of the grid.
the Sc is the central controller on the consumer network
and is therefore considered its most important component.
Since the functionality of the Sc relies heavily on the lan,
the lan is seen as essential to the consumer network. the
design of this lan remains an unsolved problem. two of its
most important general communication requirements can be
summarized as follows:
✔ Authenticity: Since consumers' premises usually sit
close to each other, undesirable consequences may be
caused if a command issued by the Sc in one consumer's home is accepted by the appliances inside another
consumer's home. as a result, it is necessary that the
lan in the consumer network be able to encrypt messages in such a way that only authenticated devices

may/june 2014

Operation
Network
Gateway

Business
Network
Gateway

as shown in Figure 4, the consumer network is made up
of six major components: the Bng and operation network
gateway (ong), the smart meter (SM) component, the home
electronics (he) component, local energy management (leM),
a smart controller (Sc), and a lan.
like the Bng and cng in the operation network, the
Bng and ong here serve as the primary protectors of the
information inside the consumer network against intrusions by outsiders. Since data protection requirements at
the consumer end are usually less stringent than those in
the operation and business networks, designing these two
gateways is a simpler task, and the only major concern is the
protection of consumer privacy. In other words, the Bng
and ong in the consumer network should be designed in
such a way that consumers are aware of the types of information being requested by other parties and are capable of
deciding whether or not the requested information should
be released.
the SM is the electricity meter, with a built-in communications module and processor. It receives real-time electricity price data from the business network and sends consumer
consumption profile data to the operation network. the price
information the SM receives is used by other components in
the consumer network to perform various functions, and the
consumption profile data the SM
sends out are used by applications
in the operation network as feedback data. as a result, it is important to design the communication
protocols used by the SM to faciliSmart Controller
tate communication with other
entities. one of the best known of
Smart
Local Area Network
Smart
these is the draft standard on an
Meter
Meter
application-layer SM communication protocol published by Ieee
Gateway Local Energy
Manager
Gateway
in March 2012 (Ieee P1377/d11).
Home
the he component consists of
Electronics
the collection of electrical appliAir
ances, such as washers and air
Distributed Electricity
Washer Conditioner Printer
Storage
conditioners, controllable by the
Sc. Based on the current electricity price, consumer requirements, figure 4. The consumer network.

ieee power & energy magazine

41



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