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A critical piece of the Smart Grid (SG) infrastructure is the supporting Communication Networks that facilitate data gathering, monitoring and control of the electric grid. Over the years, electric utilities built robust communication networks for their transmission and distribution systems, but stopped short of the “last mile” connections to the end user. A primary goal of the SG is to expand the communications network throughout and beyond the Distribution Network (DN); thus, enabling a holistic management and control of the electric grid from generation to consumption. For the realization of the Smart Grid goals, two-way communication capabilities must extend beyond the Distribution Network to the end user, allowing two-way data flow, e.g., real-time energy pricing as well as real-time demand data back to the utility operators. Selecting an appropriate communications architecture is the first and most important decision in designing a communications network since it will have lasting effects on the efficiency, reliability and cost of the network. This paper presents and evaluates various communication architectures for deployment of the SG within the DN and to the end users.