PRIME Alliance: New certification tool and 10m meters in field

PLC PRIME Alliance v1.4jpg
PRIME alliance announced at European Utility Week that it is piloting its v1.4 automated communication tool for certification and compliance for service and base nodes

At European Utility Week in Vienna, Austria, the Powerline Intelligent Metering Evolution (PRIME) Alliance this week confirmed development of an automated certification tool for research laboratories including DNV GL, ITE and Technalia.

In a press statement, PRIME Alliance said using an existing set of test cases for certification and compliance testing for service and base nodes.

The PRIME v1.4 certification tool, which is expected to be deployed in Q1 of 2016, consists of cryptographic protection mechanisms at MAC layer enabling secure deployments of PLC networks.

The certification tool utilises 128-bit AES-CCM authenticated encryption, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

The alliance claims v1.4 supports three security profiles for service node authentication that utilities deploying PRIME telecommunication subnetworks can use to avoid intrusion and guarantee data authentication.

The v1.4 MAC layer also allows utilities to select different options to deploy a secure architecture for their PRIME sub-networks, the alliance said.

PRIME in the global AMI market

The alliance has also announced this week that utilities and solution providers utilising the PRIME standard have to date installed 10 million meters worldwide.

The deployment of the PRIME meters supporting data concentrators and corresponding meter data management systems has expanded outside Europe into Latin America, Australia and more recently the Middle East and Northern Europe.

Created in 2009, the PRIME Alliance is funded by smart grid company ZIV Distribution Automation Systems, distribution technology supplier Ormazabal and communications company Sagemcom.

PRIME certification

The news follows California-based microcontroller company Atmel’s securing PRIME v1.4 Profile 2 certification for its smart metering solution in response to growing customer demand in EMEA, Latin America and Asia.

In the Q1 of 2015, PRIME Alliance found Atmel’s SAM4CP16B and ATPL230A smart metering solutions supported the standards requirements of band expansion, band-plan flexibility and IP version 6.

Atmel claims to be the first semiconductor supplier to achieve compliance with PRIME v1.3 and v1.4 standards, a process which took nearly five years, according to Kourosh Boutorabi, senior director of Smart Energy Solutions, at Atmel Corporation.

Mr Boutorabi, commenting on the company’s motivation to secure the PRIME certification, said: “We see increased interest in the PRIME standard by utilities in EMEA, Latin America and Asia and believe that as its adoption and proliferation continues, it is essential that its technical evolution continue to be fully standard compliant and certifiable by our customers as well as the utilities.”