The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said that its standards for smart grids have been approved and now available for download. The new standards -- Recommendations ITU-T G.9955 and G.9956 -- contain the physical layer (PHY) and the data link layer (DLL) specifications, respectively, for NB-PLC transceivers based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing). The specifications define technologies that support indoor and outdoor communications over direct current and alternating current power lines (including low and medium voltage lines), through transformer communications, for both urban and long distance rural communications and at frequencies below 500 kHz.
These standards are envisioned to enable cost-effective smart grid applications such as distribution automation, diagnostic and fault location, smart metering, demand response, energy management, smart appliances, grid-to-home communications and advanced recharging systems for electric vehicles.
ITU also said the standards are an ideal platform for smart grid applications because of their use of power lines as a communications medium, which is under the direct and complete control of power utilities. In addition, because the family supports popular protocols like Ethernet, IPv4 and IPv6, smart grid networks can easily be integrated with IP-based networks.
"The approved ITU NB-PLC family of international standards will be a fundamental building block for realizing a robust smart grid anywhere in the world, and will allow utilities to start immediate deployment of NB-PLC on a worldwide basis,” said Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General, ITU.