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IEEE has announced updates to four wireless communications technologies in the IEEE 802 family of standards, as well as formed a new technical advisory group.

According to IEEE, the new standards support the global utility industry's needs for smart grid data communications infrastructure and build on the IEEE Standards Association's portfolio of more than 100 active IEEE standards pertaining to the smart grid.

The new IEEE 802 standards include the following:

IEEE 802.15.4g-2012 is a global standard that provides carrier-grade wireless communications connectivity for large-scale smart metering applications and advanced metering infrastructure used in smart grids. It supports geographically diverse networks with minimal infrastructure that can potentially connect millions of end points, IEEE says.

IEEE 802.16-2012 supports worldwide deployment of interoperable and multi-vendor broadband wireless access products, with Ethernet as well as IP interfaces, that utilities can use for machine-to-machine smart grid applications. The standard specifies the air interface, including the medium access control and physical layers, of combined fixed and mobile point-to-multipoint BWA systems.

IEEE 802.16.1-2012 provides an enhanced air interface and improved capacity for metropolitan-area networks that utilities can use for smart grid machine-to-machine communications, as well as mobile voice-based applications, with support for Ethernet as well as IP interfaces. IEEE 802.16.1-2012 is a new stand-alone version of the technology first specified in IEEE 802.16m-2011 and designated by the ITU as IMT-Advanced.

In addition, IEEE has announced the formation of the IEEE 802.24 Smart Grid Technical Advisory Group. The newly launched entity is a collaborative umbrella organization that works with multiple IEEE 802 working groups and will liaise with smart grid ecosystem stakeholders, such as regulatory agencies, other standards development bodies and industry organizations. The new group’s goal is to help resolve questions and challenges regarding the use of IEEE 802 standards in smart grid applications.

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