Achieving AMI interoperability


As a company that has been involved in the power utilisation and distribution industry for decades, Ningbo Sanxing Smart Electric has developed Internet of Energy (IoE) concepts into its overall power intelligent solutions.

The achievement of interoperability serves as the cornerstone of IoE in the power industry. By managing interconnectivity in AMI solutions, Sanxing realised interoperability and optimised the follow through.

This article first appeared in Smart Energy International Issue 4-2019. 
Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

Figure 1 below shows how it works.

1. System interoperability:

Sanxing has extensive experience in working with a number of system suppliers such as Siemens and Schneider.

2. Protocol interoperability:

Through protocols based on DLMS/IDIS and other standards, the SanPlat system provided by Sanxing is able to access concentrators from third-party suppliers or meters utilising GPRS communication.

3. Module interoperability: Based on standardized G3 communication mode, the SX5D1-AEOT-14 series concentrator provided by Sanxing realizes two-way intercommunication with the G3 meter of the third-party supplier through the G3 module.

System Interoperability

As utilities oftentimes make use of multiple AMI-level systems, serviced and produced by different vendors, the use of multiple sets of peer systems can result in a number of challenges, including (Figure 2):

  • Increased operational requirements within the utility and added management complexity.
  • Files and data in different systems cannot be shared, and manual consolidated reports are required.
  • Grid data analysis is not comprehensive enough.
  • Increased implementation and maintenance costs.

In order to manage these challenges, Sanxing has developed a system-level management platform with the following features:

  • Unified system protocol – native support for the subsystem or conversion by the vendor development interface
  • Unified file management – including alteration, creation, deletion and search functionality
  • Unified remote management – including remote individual reading, upgrades, batch operations, etc.
  • Unified data management – data collected by the subsystem is unified to the system level management platform for processing and analysis
  • Unified report management – exporting comprehensive reports through the management platform by integrating devices and data of all subsystems.

Protocol (IDIS standard) interoperability

In order to solve the interconnection problem, the smart meter communication protocol generally follows the DLMS protocol.

The DLMS protocol has opened up interoperability for all manufacturers through the communication link. However, when it comes to the application level, the definition of specific protocols varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and may have different attributes, different functional categories and different functional standards.

To solve this problem, Sanxing defined the functional categories in accordance with the IDIS standard and specified the definition of OBIS, limited to the attribute of each OBIS. It also standardised key algorithms, such as load curve, powerdown billing, adjustment processing and key handling, etc. Some personalised definitions are unified such as alarm, event code, etc.

At present, Sanxing has successfully joined the IDIS association, and its products P34S02, S12U16, S34U18, S34U18 CT have obtained IDIS2DLM certification (Figure 3).

Module Interoperability

The G3-PLC specification is a technical specification jointly published by the French distribution network and Maxim Semiconductor, which uses multi-carrier modulation technology based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and Media Access Control layer (MAC Layer).

The network layer, transmission layer and COSEM system compatible application layer are based on the IEEE802.15.4 standard. It can work in the frequency bands specified by CENELEC, ARIB, and FCC, and can provide data transmission rates of 20~240kb/s. Its main advantages are good synergy, low construction costs, high communication security, support for IPv6 and good interoperability.

G3-PLC technology first uses adaptive frequency selection technology to achieve coexistence with existing PLC technology and introduces the COSEM standard measurement system in the application layer.

COSEM is used to meet the application requirements of all metering and automatic meter reading systems in the free market with one standard. It has compatibility, independence and expandability as its implementation goals. It is not directly related to the communication modes adopted by the lower layers. Thus, G3PLC technology can interoperate and be compatible with existing COSEM-compliant devices. In addition, G3-PLC technology can work with IEC61334, IEEEP1901 and ITU standard systems.

At present, Sanxing’s products SX5D1AEOT-14, P12S01, P34S02 and P34S02 CT have successfully obtained G3-PLC certification (Figure 4). SEI


Paul Zhang is the Director of Technical Support at Ningbo Sanxing, responsible for Sanxing’s overseas marketing strategy and product planning. He has 10 years’ experience in AMI smart meter developing as well as three years’ experience in technical support.


Founded in 1986, Ningbo Sanxing Smart Electric Co., Ltd. has been dedicated to becoming an integrated solution provider of intelligent power distribution and utilization. We have built 26 domestic marketing centres and our business net covers 50+ countries and regions.