Wi-Fi, HomePlug groups to collaborate on smart grid, home energy apps

Two groups set industry specifications for smart grid interoperability

The Wi-Fi Alliance and the HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced an agreement Tuesday to collaborate on applications that allow smart energy grids to interoperate with "connected" homes.

The two alliances are part of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, a forum that coordinates smart grid standards. They plan to collaborate on wireless and wired network applications for what the forum calls its Smart Energy 2 Applications Profile.

The Wi-Fi Alliance believes that working with HomePlug will help mesh Wi-Fi equipment and devices connected to home powerline networks. The collaboration is focused on helping bring about "a great user experience with smart home technology," Edgar Figueroa, the Wi-Fi Alliance CEO, said in a statement.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has already certified 8,000 Wi-Fi products, while HomePlug has set specifications used in 60 million devices, including HomePlug AV, which enables an adapter to be plugged into a wall power outlet in a home. The adapter also has an Ethernet port to be connected to a computer. In another room, another adapter can be plugged into the wall to connect to another computer, allowing powerline networking between the two computers at 85 mbit/sec.

HomePlug is also working on an AV2 broadband specification that is due to be completed in early 2011 that will allow 600 Mbit/sec data transfer capability over home powerlines.

The HomePlug GreenPhy is another specification. It's used for smart meters and small appliances such as thermostats to allow data sharing between a home area network and a utility.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about wireless networking in Computerworld's Wireless Networking Topic Center.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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