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IEEE approves new smart grid standard

By Max Burkhalter
November 25, 2013

The latest IEEE-approved standard, IEEE 1901.2, focuses on low-frequency, narrowband power-line communications for smart grid deployments. According to PV Magazine, the standard is specifically designed for leveraging techniques and recent innovations in communications technology to boost smart grid security frameworks. These efforts focus on the physical/medium access (PHY/MAC) layer, coexistence and electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) requirements. Additionally, the new standard supports balanced and efficient use of the PLC channel for low-frequency and narrowband devices.

"The IEEE 1901.2 standard raises the bar of performance with mandatory differential and robust coherent modulation, with added enhancements for increased data rates greater than 300kbps," said Jim LeClare, chair of the IEEE Low-Frequency Narrowband Power-Line Communications Working Group. "The design potential for low-frequency, narrowband OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) Power-Line Communications (PLC) has expanded past the energy industry, with designs spanning the globe in industrial automation, transportation, street lighting, mining, medical applications and more."

Specifically, this new standard helps secure PLC at 500kHZ and lower data rates. This will help improve transmissions between low- and medium-voltage transformers and power lines to improve service from urban to rural areas.

In order to continue meeting IEEE and other international standards for quality, utility providers and other firms that can benefit from smart grid technologies need to ensure they are optimizing their deployments with the appropriate serial to Ethernet converters and similar hardware. Having sub par terminal servers will reduce the efficiency of a smart grid, even as other standards are met through various deployments. Bringing the entire grid up to par will be critical for companies looking to minimize latency and bring the benefits of smart grids to wider areas. This will help deliver lower-cost, increased efficiency power to increased populations, which in turn will reduce expenses for providers and the overall drain on the nation's resources.

Smart grid deployments already require extensive assurances that technological and operational minimum standards of quality are met. This new IEEE 1901.2 standard will be an excellent addition that will boost overall deployment capabilities for many firms and ensure quality power delivery to more people across the globe.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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