Doing It Right – Recommendations for RPL in PLC-based Networks for the Smart Grid
Tanguy Ropitault, Alejandro Lampropulos, Ramanuja Vedantham, Alexander Pelov and Laurent Toutain,
Philippe Chiummiento from Itron
Ever since man has tamed electricity, the means for producing
and distributing it have been in gradual evolution. The
biggest change to the power grid in the past several decades are
the recent efforts to deploy Internet technologies throughout
the grid – a major enabler for its evolution to a “Smart
Grid”. Nowadays, more than ever, the grid has to meet new
challenges and constraints, such as the efficient management of
production and distribution of power, integration of renewable
energy sources, electrical vehicles, and so forth. This can only
be achieved by having real-time, accurate knowledge of the
actual energy consumption all along the grid and being able
to communicate bidirectionally with all elements connected to
the grid – the essence of the Smart Grid.
The system which englobes the Smart Meters, the networks
necessary to communicate with them, and the backend management
system is called Advanced Metering Infrastructure
(AMI). It is a key enabler of the Smart Grid. AMI relies on
efficient and robust Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) to
carry information between power meters and data concentrators
(DC). DC are the element which connects the NAN to the
WAN, and can vary in complexity – from a simple repeater
to a full-featured application-level gateway (Fig.1).
NAN can be formed with long-range point-to-point links or
short range multi-hop networks. One of the leading approaches
for wired NAN is communicating over a Power Line Carrier
(PLC). Utilities and power meter industries have selected
the narrowband (< 500 kHz) PLC technology with several
emerging standards for physical and data link layers, such as
the ITU-T 9903 and IEEE P1901.2 .
Narrowband PLC, being a harsh environment for data networks
(noisy, limited throughput, . . . ), bears strong similarity
to Low-power and Lossy Networks (LLNs). IETF RPL ,
a proactive routing protocol, has been designed specifically
for LLNs. To evaluate RPL in narrowband PLC architecture,
we developed an IEEE P1901.2 module in OPNET simulator.
In , we demonstrated that the simulation model is realistic
by validating it against a real-world testbed.