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Motivated by the need to improve energy efficiency and reduce the impact on the environment, we see efforts directed towards enabling a `Smart Grid'. One of the key elements of the Smart Grid is the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which is expected to facilitate the transport of meter readings from meters to the utility provider and control information (potentially) in the other direction. Different solution strategies for realizing AMI networks are currently being debated in the community with no clear consensus so far. This paper proposes a mesh radio based solution which exhibits self-organizing characteristics and is therefore attractive from a deployment perspective. The proposed solution has been realized as enhancements to the RPL protocol, a connectivity enabling mechanism for low power and lossy networks currently being standardized by the IETF ROLL working group. It enables smart meter nodes augmented with the mesh radio to automatically discover concentrator nodes in the vicinity, setup a single/multi-hop link to the best available concentrator, detect loss of connectivity and subsequently re-configure itself to re-establish connectivity so as to ensure reliable transport of smart metering data. Moreover, it achieves this in a distributed manner thereby ensuring scalability. Results from the evaluation of the proposed solution through emulation based experiments further confirm this.
Date of Conference: 20-24 June 2011