There are two sets of standards for powerline communications – one for household wiring, the other for powerline communications – and the advocates for each are finally going to try to cooperate, with the Smart Grid program as a catalyst and the IEEE as a mediator.
The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) said it is facilitating cooperation between the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, which has traditionally focused on home networking, and the HD-PLC Alliance, which has traditionally been more concerned with transmission on outdoor powerlines.
As the Smart Grid trend progresses, the ability to have a consistent set of powerline-based broadband standards is becoming more critical. Wide adoption of standards such as IEEE P1901 is seen as one of the critical steps necessary to encourage the production of low-cost, Smart Grid-ready home appliances, the IEEE said.
The first order of business for the participating organizations is going to be developing a joint certification program for the Inter-System Protocol (ISP) in the IEEE P1901 standard that allows coexistence between the two powerline communications (PLC) technologies.
The coexistence standard allows physical devices that are compliant with different variants of the IEEE P1901 standard to operate without interference, enabling high-speed communications across shared electric power connections.
The ISP certification testing is now being finalized with an interoperability “plugfest” scheduled for May to certify the first compliant silicon chips.
Michimasa Aramaki, president of the HD-PLC Alliance, said, “The collaborative environment provided by IEEE-SA will allow us to work together to expand the marketplace for IEEE P1901-compliant products and contribute to accelerated Smart Grid rollout.”