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Posts tagged ‘wi-fi’

This 45-Mile "Wi-Fi" Could Connect a Smarter Power Grid

If your home Wi-Fi router wasn’t cooped up indoors, it could send a signal about a 20th of a mile before the signal became too weak and distorted for a computer to receive it. Technology developed by San Diego startup On-Ramp Wireless uses the same frequency, but less power, to send data signals 45 miles, thanks to algorithms that make the signals very resistant to noise.

The technology, called Ultra-Link Processing, transfers data at a very low rate compared with a home broadband connection. But On-Ramp intends to offer it as a way to enable “smart energy” grids, in which simple sensors installed in home energy meters, for example, report local activity back to utilities, allowing them to manage power generation and distribution more intelligently.

Smart-grid infrastructure is needed to cope with the fluctuating output of renewable energy sources at large scale, and it could make feasible micro-generation, whereby consumers make their own power and sell any surplus back to the grid. Today’s smart-grid sensors typically use Wi-Fi-like technology with Wi-Fi-like ranges, or unlicensed radio bands that can reach a couple of miles. Cellular networks can also be used, but these connections are under growing pressure from data-hungry phones and tablets.

More info here.

Wi-Fi Alliance: "Wi-Fi Offers Unsurpassed Capabilities For the Smart Grid"

A statement from the Wi-Fi Alliance about the recent GE White Paper comparing Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies:

A recent white paper authored by the General Electric Company comparing the power efficiency of Wi-Fi and Zigbee technologies in home Smart Grid applications is flawed, resulting in inaccurate findings.

The report, released on December 9, 2010 and titled, “Energy Efficiency Comparisons of Wireless Communication Technology Options for Smart Grid Enabled Devices” compares Wi-Fi and ZigBee in home Smart Grid applications, focusing on power consumption as the primary evaluation criterion.  The report bases its conclusion on measurements of a single implementation each of Zigbee and Wi-Fi, using Smart Energy Profile 1.0.

The evaluation was based on old technology and tested only one implementation.

The evaluation that formed the basis for the conclusions in the paper was conducted using ZigBee Smart Energy Profile 1.0, an older protocol which lacks key technical features, such as cyber security and IP communications, now specified by the federal government for Smart Grid use.

Moreover, the single tested Wi-Fi implementation in the study is based on an 802.11b chip, based on ten-year-old Wi-Fi technology.  Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ technology based upon 802.11n will be very widely used in Smart Grid applications, and is already used in millions of households around the world.  In fact, Wi-Fi offers a range of technology options, including 802.11a, g and n, that suit the diverse range of Smart Grid applications, and none of these technologies was tested.

The study’s design leads to inaccurate conclusions on power efficiency.

Because the evaluation was based on old technologies, its conclusions present an inaccurate characterization of the energy efficiency of both ZigBee and Wi-Fi technologies and cannot be used to draw generalized conclusions about the state of Smart Grid communications technology today.

Implementations of any technology using Smart Energy Profile 2.0 – the federally-specified implementation for the Smart Grid – will have increased power consumption compared with the version of the protocol which was tested, because of the additional data transmission requirements inherent in Smart Energy Profile 2.0.  It should be noted that 802.11n, the current generation of Wi-Fi technology, incorporates more efficient data transmission and more sophisticated power-saving mechanisms than 802.11b, and may perform better in an energy efficiency evaluation.  When evaluated using Smart Energy Profile 2.0 the differences in energy consumption between Wi-Fi and ZigBee could be much smaller.

The study’s limited scope excluded important criteria in which Wi-Fi has key strengths

A recent and significantly more comprehensive Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) study, available at, concludes with a leading ranking for Wi-Fi as the communications protocol technology of choice in smart home appliance applications because of its range and throughput benefits, power management, established certification ecosystem, significant installed base, and more.

Already the network of choice in an estimated 201 million households worldwide[Parks Associates, “Networks in the Home: Global Growth; A Report for the Wi-Fi Alliance”.], Wi-Fi brings a variety of features unmatched by other technologies, including whole-home coverage, IP-based communications, industry-standard security protections, and advanced power management mechanisms that meet the federally-specified requirements of smart energy applications.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide.

The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program was launched in March 2000.  It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience.  The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 8,500 product certifications to date, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.

Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, the Wi-Fi ZONE logo, and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, Wi-Fi Direct™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, Wi-Fi Multimedia™, and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Web of things, Opensource and WI-FI

The OpenPicus project officially has the first Wi-Fi module released. It’s small and integrates the Microchip PIC24F  (256K Flash, 16K Ram) and the new Microchip Wi-Fi certified module.

FlyPort (name of the module) runs the Wireless Stack (TCP/IP version 5.25 from Microchip) and the Application layer. It’s provided with a comfortable 26 ways Male Pinheader connector to let you prototype and test easily.

Programmer has full control of the Wi-Fi module, Low power modes are available. Flyport act as powerful webserver (you can run even Ajax apps like graphic libraries) or it may send you email or send data to a remote server.

Claudio Carnevali, founder of the OpenPicus project, says: “We believe FlyPort is a revolutionary device and we’ll be able to achieve a price under 30 Euro soon.  Wi-Fi is the natural wireless platform for the Internet of Things, because it doesn’t need any gateway and expecially when your application can control the RF transceiver to save energy”

More info here.