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One of the key building blocks of the future smart grid is a wide area monitoring and control (WAMC) system that continuously monitors the health of the grid using the phasor measurement units (PMUs). Measurements from the PMUs are strictly delay-sensitive since they act as the triggering points for the underlying protection and control systems. This paper presents a detailed performance analysis of a wide area PMU communications system over a WiMAX/IEEE 802.16 network in the smart grid. It defines the basic application models and traffic requirements of a PMU communications system and maps them over the unsolicited grant service (UGS), real-time polling service (rtPS) and best-effort (BE) scheduling services of the IEEE 802.16 standard. Using a discrete event simulation model based on the OPNET simulation package, the paper evaluates the performance of these scheduling services in terms of delay, uplink data usage and signaling overheads. The results indicate that while the UGS performs best among the scheduling services, it consumes a significant amount of radio resources to achieve a tighter delay bound.