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This paper describes the system architecture and the performance evaluation of a Radio Frequency (RF) mesh based system for smart energy management applications in the Neighborhood Area Network (NAN). The RF mesh system presented in this paper leverages the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band at 902-928 MHz and is based on frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS). The performance evaluation is based on a geographical model of the deployment scenario and implements geographical routing combined with appropriate radio propagation models. The results show that the system is able to handle Smart Metering communication traffic with a high reliability provided potential coverage gaps are properly filled with repeater nodes. The proposed methodology allows the identification of coverage gaps, which may cause bottlenecks in the network, prior to deployment and therefore supports efficient and reliable deployment and operation of the system.