FAN Certification Opens Door for New Smart Grid Devices

Smart grid technology standards have been essential in ensuring meters and related software can be integrated into a utility’s existing business structures with minimal customization.

But with the rise of mesh networks as the primary field area network for AMI and DA applications, proprietary protocols sometimes impede implementation of secondary sources for sensors and other communicating devices.

The Wi-SUN Alliance, a standards body focused on large-scale IoT wireless communications, is seeking to change this by launching a FAN Certification Program. As an alliance member and board member, Landis+Gyr is actively involved in crafting requirements for this program that serve the needs of our customers.

What is it:

The certification program provides compliance testing to the Wi-SUN communications profile to certify interoperability. This means that a certified network component from one company will be able to communicate with a certified device from another company. While history teaches us that this level of interoperability doesn’t guarantee plug-n-play compatibility, it is a big step toward providing greater access to multiple vendor products.

Why it matters:

While many utilities are currently able to select meters from multiple vendors that operate on their AMI networks, it is sometimes more difficult to integrate new sensors being introduced for smart city applications, EV charging or grid management. FAN interoperability is meant to bridge this last gap in open standards.

The ability to use best-fit vendors for multiple projects will ultimately inspire new energy management applications. Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream Connect platform is designed to support and exchange network interface cards (NICs) with other vendors and developers. Certification will make this process easier and more cost effective.

Similar to how mobile consumer devices have evolved, as existing proprietary networks become more open in the future, the focus will be less on the network and more on the value intelligent devices provide. 


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