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Automated metering is expected to be an integral part of the modern energy grid. Automated metering entails transport of metering data from the energy consumer's premises to the data management systems of the energy provider and potentially information in the other direction. This paper describes a practical mesh networking solution based on extensions proposed to the routing protocol for low power and lossy networks (RPL) to realize automated metering communications. This solution comprises self-organizing algorithms to enable smart meters to automatically discover connectivity and recover from loss of connectivity. Results from a theoretical analysis, simulation based experiments and measurements carried out from a network deployed in our office premises are presented to show the efficacy of the proposed solution. In particular, we study the impact of these algorithms on the network discovery latency, recovery latency, and packet delivery ratio. Findings from this study demonstrate that this solution can improve scalability and performance of the network. Moreover, this solution is practical from an implementation perspective.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2012