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Smart Grid


The NIST Interoperability Framework Process for Smart Grid includes Priority Action Plans (PAPs) for dealing with major issues associated with developing standards for the Smart Grid. EMNTG's efforts are focused on expediting the identification and development of network standards in support of reliable and robust smart grid communication infrastructures.



In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which tasked NIST with developing standards and protocols to ensure that Smart Grid systems are interoperable. An important part of the Smart Grid is the communications infrastructure, which utilities use to send command information between generation and distribution systems, and to exchange usage and billing information with their customers. An important question is the extent to which networking protocols can be used in the Smart Grid communications network. For example, wireless communications allow mobile applications for work crews in the field and they facilitate deployment of communications networks in situations where the installation of a wired infrastructure is not economically or physically feasible.

There are many possible communications and networking standards that a Smart Grid developer could choose, but most of these standards were not developed specifically for smart grid applications. The critical issues that must be addressed by any communications standard that would be used in the Smart Grid are the following:
  • Performance (does the standard allow Smart Grid applications to fulfill requirements such as delay limits, minimum reliability, and adequate coverage)
  • Interoperability (does the suite of standards allow end-to-end communications between all actors in the Smart Grid)
  • Coexistence (does the standard allow communication without interference from or interfering with other communications systems)

Our goals:

  • Expedite the identification and development of network standards in support of reliable and robust smart grid communication infrastructures.
  • Develop end-to-end communication requirements for Smart Grid applications.
  • Develop a modeling and performance analysis framework to evaluate network protocols in the context of Smart Grid communications.  
  • Devise mathematical, simulation tools and modeling techniques to accurately characterize network protocol performance.

Major Accomplishments:

  • We contributed to the networking section of the NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards 1.0
  • We developed and led the following NIST Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) Priority Action Plans on networking:
  • We harmonized power line carrier standards for appliance communications in the home (Priority Action Plan #15)
  • We are leading the evaluation of networking technologies for Smart Grid Communications including the development of Smart Grid quantitative communication requirements


  • We "raised the bar" for how to conduct modeling and performance evaluation of communication technologies
  • We led the development of quantitative communication requirements that can be used by utilities, vendors, researchers to develop and deploy communication technologies for Smart Grid
Photo courtesy Argonne National Laboratory (

Start Date:

April 1, 2009

End Date:


Lead Organizational Unit:




UCA International Users Group - Open Smart Grid Subcommittee (OpenSG)

Telecommunication Standard Development Organizations such as IEEE, 3GPP, 3GPP2, ISA, TIA, ATIS, ITU-T, and IETF


Nada Golmie

Michael Souryal

Camillo Gentile

David Griffith

David Cypher


Advanced Network Technologies Division
Emerging & Mobile Network Technologies Group
Nada Golmie, Manager

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8920
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8920

301-975-4190 Telephone
301-975-6238 Facsimile