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On the Communication Requirements for the Smart Grid

DOI: 10.4236/epe.2011.31008, PP. 53-60

Keywords: Smart Grid, Core Network, Distribution Network, Access Network, Energy, Latency, Bandwidth

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The current power grid is facing many challenges that it was not designed or engineered to handle which range from congestions and major blackouts to the overwhelming increase in demand and security concerns. The current electric grid was established before the 1960’s. It is believed that the electric grid is the most complex and gigantic machine ever made in human history; it consists of wires, cables, towers, transformers and circuit breakers installed together in outdated manner. During the 60’s, computers and sensors were used to monitor and slightly control the grid; however, fifty years later these sensors are considered less than ideal. Presented here is a review of the smart grid communication network in terms of configuration, bandwidth and latency requirements as well as the technology used. We simulate the access layer of the smart grid net-work and show that no single available communication technology can be used for all layers of the smart grid; thus, different technologies for different layers are needed. A new protocol for optimizing the smart grid is recommended.


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