GEN6 - Greek IPv6 Pilot

Using smart meters, consumers can monitor their energy usage, compare one day’s electricity usage to the next and predict that their bill will be at the end of the month. However, most current smart meters cannot tell customers how the usage can be allocated to different activities sush as: HVAC, washer-dryer, etc, because few consumers are fitted with energy controllers that allow more sophisticated communication with smart appliances. One reason for this is that the physical infrastructure isn’t sufficient, yet smart grids related infrastructures are being developed such that they will, one day, offer new ways to consume electricity.

To this point, lately efforts have been succeeded in order to be developed an open and interoperable smart grid through a secure advanced smart metering infrastructure that will be fully IP and open standards based. The communication will be executed through the 6LowPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks), the International Open Standard that enables building the wireless “Internet of things”. 6LowPAN allows low-power wireless devices working on IEEE 802.15.4 radios to simply join Wifi devices, Ethernet devices, and many others that make up the IP family turning IEEE 802.15.4 into the next IP-enabled link. 6LowPAN, therefore, promises to bring IPv6 network addressing first to smart meters and IOT sensors for many applications, including industrial. 6LowPAN originated from the notion that IP should be applied even to the smallest devices (such as “Internet of Things”).The targets for low power radio communication IP networking are applications that need wireless Internet connectivity at lower data rates for devices with very limited form factor. Such applications include automation and entertainment applications in smart homes, as well as office and industrial environments. In terms of smart grids, IPv6 enables smart meters and other devices to build a micomesh network before sending the data back to the critical billing systems using IPv6 backbone. Both IPv4 and IPv6 provide for LAN, MAN and WAN (and Internet) data delivery but IPv4 addresses capacity, plus next generation wireless communications, will play a major role in facilitating this trend. Smart meters, the electricity/gas meters with in-built intelligence, are crucial tools in providing better, more informative billing for users. They will be essential –for example- in allowing users and others having their own decentralized electricity generating capacity to sell unused electricity back to smart grids. Other advantages of using IPv6 and 6LowPAN protocol in smart meters is that this allow build-in enterprise-class networking capabilities, such as quality of service and network managements tools, multi-channel data traffic separation and prioritization. IPv6 also offers the latest and greatest in cybersecurity.