A Survey of Communication Protocols for Automatic Meter Reading Applications
ABSTRACT Utility companies (electricity, gas, and water suppliers), governments, and researchers have been urging to deploy communication-based systems to read meters, known as automatic meter reading (AMR). An AMR system is envisaged to bring on benefits to customers, utilities, and governments. The advantages include reducing peak demand for energy, supporting the time-of-use concept for billing, enabling customers to make informed decisions, and reducing the cost of meter reading, to name a few. A key element in an AMR system is communications between meters and utility servers. Though several communication technologies have been proposed and implemented at a small scale, with the wide proliferation of wireless communication, it is the right time to critique the old proposals and explore new possibilities for the next generation AMR. We provide a comprehensive review of the AMR technologies proposed so far. Next, we present how future AMRs will benefit from third generation (3G) communication systems, the DLMS/COSEM (Data Language Messaging Specification/Companion Specification for Energy Metering) standard and Internet Protocol-based SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) signaling at the application level. The DLMS/COSEM standard provides a framework for meters to report application data (i.e. meter readings) to a utility server in a reliable manner. The SIP protocol is envisaged to be used as the signaling protocol between application entities running on meters and servers. The DLMS/COSEM standard and the SIP protocol are expected to provide an application level communication abstraction to achieve reliability and scalability. Finally, we identify the challenges at the application level that need to be tackled. The challenges include handling failure, gathering meter data under different time constraints (ranging from real-time to delay-tolerance), disseminating (i.e., unicasting, multicasting, broadcasting, and geocasting) control data to the meters, and achieving secure c ommunication.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose – At present the energy generation and distribution landscape is changing rapidly. The energy grid is becoming increasingly smart, relying on an information network for the purposes of monitoring and optimization. However, because of the particularly stringent regulatory and technical constraints posed by smart grids, it is not possible to use ordinary communication protocols. The purpose of this paper is to revisit such constraints, reviewing the various options available today to realize smart-metering networks. Design/methodology/approach – After describing the regulatory, technological and stakeholders' constraints, the authors provide a taxonomy of network technologies, discussing their suitability and weaknesses in the context of smart-metering systems. The authors also give a snapshot of the current standardization panorama, identifying key differences among various geographical regions. Findings – It is found that the field of smart-metering networks still consists of a fragmented set of standards and solutions, leaving open a number of issues relating to the design and deployment of suitable systems. Originality/value – This paper addresses the need to better understand state-of-the-art and open issues in the fast-evolving area of smart energy grids, with particular attention to the challenges faced by communication engineers.International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications 03/2012; 8(1):23-52.