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The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of organizations creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, has announced that a group of smart metering and smart grid member companies are developing a communication profile aimed at achieving true plug-and-play interoperability between the members' wireless smart grid neighborhood area network (NAN) products and solutions.

A NAN is an outdoor access network that connects smart meters and distribution automation devices to wide area network gateways, such as RF collectors or data concentrators and field devices. The development of an interoperable wireless IPv6 communication profile will be based on international open IEEE and IETF standards, ZigBee says.

According to ZigBee, the wireless communications profile will enable interoperability between different vendors that have all implemented their smart meters, smart grid devices and communication infrastructure node products according to the certifiable NAN communications profile. Existing smart grid applications, such as smart metering and distribution automation, will run on top of this interoperable wireless IPv6 communications profile.

A key aspect of this NAN standardization work, ZigBee says, is to establish a test and certification program supported by independent test houses with the aim of certifying the interoperability of different manufacturers' smart grid products and solutions. ZigBee notes that it will maintain a register of certified smart meter and smart grid products.

ZigBee reports that the NAN standardization work is anticipated to be completed by the end of this year and will include the technical specification, protocol implementation conformance statement and certification test plan.

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