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It is envisioned that one of the most important issues in smart grid will be to design a network architecture that is capable of providing secure and reliable two-way communication from meters to other Smart Grid domains. While networking technologies and systems have been greatly enhanced, in wireless communication environments the smart grid faces new challenges in terms of reliability and efficiency. In this paper we present a multigate mesh network architecture to handle real-time traffic for the last mile communication. The paper consists of three parts; multigate routing, real-time traffic scheduling, and multichannel (MC) aided wireless mesh routing. The multigate routing is based on a flexible mesh network architecture that expands on the hybrid tree routing of the IEEE 802.11s. The network is specifically designed to operate in a multi gateway structure in order to meet the smart grid requirements in terms of reliability, self-healing, and throughput performance. This includes developing a timer-based multiple-path diversity scheme that takes advantage of the multi gateway network structure. With respect to packet scheduling, we introduce a novel and efficient scheme that is capable of balancing the traffic load among multiple gateways. The proposed scheme, which is based on the backpressure concept due to its simplicity, is suitable for practical implementation. We also present an MC aided wireless mesh routing protocol which is specifically designed for multigate smart grid networks. The results indicate that a combination of multipath routing and the backpressure-based packet-scheduling scheme can show a significant improvement in the network reliability, latency, and throughput performance. We also show an improvement in the order of magnitude can be achieved via the proposed multichannel aided routing protocol.