Hamadoun Touré,
Secretary General,
Geneva, Switzerland — (METERING.COM) — January 3, 2012 – The G.9955 and G.9956 next generation narrowband powerline communications (PLC) standards that will enable cost effective smart grid applications have been approved by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and are available for download.

ITU-T Recommendations G.9955 and G.9956 contain the physical layer (PHY) and the data link layer (DLL) specifications, respectively, for narrowband PLC transceivers based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing). The specifications define technologies that support indoor and outdoor communications over direct current and alternating current power lines (including low and medium voltage lines), through transformer communications, for both urban and long distance rural communications and at frequencies below 500 kHz.

The approved family of standards includes three separate and self contained specifications:

  • G.hnem, a new narrowband PLC technology developed by ITU-T in cooperation with members of the G3-PLC and PRIME Alliances
  • G3-PLC and PRIME, which are established and field proven narrowband PLC technologies contributed respectively by members of the G3-PLC and PRIME Alliances.

The standards are an ideal platform for smart grid applications because of their use of powerlines as a communications medium. In addition, because the family supports popular protocols like Ethernet, IPv4 and IPv6, smart grid networks can easily be integrated with IP-based networks.

The standards also incorporate electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and mitigation techniques defined in collaboration with ITU’s Radiocommunication sector (ITU-R) that ensure a high degree of protection of radio services from PLC emissions.

“The approved family of international standards will be a fundamental building block for realizing a robust smart grid anywhere in the world, and will allow utilities to start immediate deployment of narrowband PLC on a worldwide basis,” commented Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the ITU.

The family of standards will enable smart grid applications such as distribution automation, diagnostic and fault location, smart metering, demand response, energy management, smart appliances, grid-to-home communications and advanced recharging systems for electric vehicles.