Smart grid standards: ZigBee salutes the IPv6 flag


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: The smart grid is marching relentlessly toward full compatibility with Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Everyone needs to adhere to IPv6 - and that job just got a little easier with the release of a new specification from the ZigBee Alliance. The industry consortium promotes ZigBee as the solution of choice for "personal area networks" - short-range wireless networks for connecting such things as smart meters, smart thermostats and smart appliances.

As the story below implies, this is all part of the Internet of Things revolution. And it's good news for utilities because it expands their choices while allowing them to stay IPv6. And that may be the biggest benefit of open standards. They give users a wide selection of alternatives plus the ability to mix and match products from different vendors. - By Jesse Berst


The ZigBee Alliance has released its third specification for ZigBee IP, which the organization says is the  first open standard for an IPv6-based complete wireless mesh networking solution for controlling low-power, low-cost devices.


It adds network and security layers as well as an application framework to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and also provides scalable architecture including end-to-end IPv6 networking which establishes a basis for an Internet of Things without the need for intermediate gateways. And it provides a cost-effective, energy-efficient wireless mesh network based on standard Internet protocols.


"ZigBee offers a significant step forward in the expansion of IP-based control," said Mark Grazier, marketing manager and ZigBee board member, Wireless Connectivity Solutions at Texas Instruments. "Having low-power, low-cost wireless mesh devices that connect to a variety of smart grid IPv6-based protocols will further expand the Internet of Things."


Tobin Richardson, chairman and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance, commented "ZigBee IP provides another option for product manufacturers to add mesh networking to their products. We expect to see a wave of ZigBee certified products based on ZigBee IP when Smart Energy Profile 2 is completed later this year since ZigBee IP was designed specifically to meet SEP2 requirements for the smart grid."


Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.


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