ITU-T Smart Grid FG Produces Smart Grid Overview Document


A very comprehensive “Smart Grid Overview” document has been produced by the ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Grids (FG Smart).  The objective of this “deliverable” document is to enable readers to understand key concepts and objectives for Smart Grid and identify architectural models and required capabilities in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) perspective.  

More specifically, this document covers the following:

  • Definition of Smart Grid;
  • Objectives of Smart Grid;
  • Conceptual model and reference architecture of Smart Grid;
  • Fundamental characteristics of Smart Grid;
  • Roles and key areas of ICT for Smart Grid;
  • Architecture overview for Smart Grid; and
  • Required capabilities for Smart Grid.

Goals and Objectives of Smart Grid

Efficient and reliable transmission and distribution of electricity is a fundamental requirement for providing societies and economies with essential energy resources. The utilities in the industrialized countries are today in a period of change and agitation. On one hand, large parts of the power grid infrastructure are reaching their designed end of life time, since a large portion of the equipment was installed in the 1960s. On the other hand, there is a strong political and regulatory push for more competition and lower energy prices, more energy efficiency and an increased use of renewable energy like solar, wind, biomasses and water.

In industrialized countries, the load demand has decreased or remained constant in the previous decade, whereas developing countries have shown a rapidly increasing load demand. Aging equipment, dispersed generation as well as load increase might lead to highly utilized equipment during peak load conditions. If the upgrade of the power grid should be reduced to a minimum, new ways of operating power systems need to be found and established.

In many countries, regulators and liberalization are forcing utilities to reduce costs for the transmission and distribution of electrical energy. Therefore, new methods (mainly based on the efforts of modern information and communication techniques) to operate power systems are required to guarantee a sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply.

The general goals of Smart Grid are to ensure a transparent, sustainable and environmental-friendly system operation that is cost and energy efficient, secure and safe. Objectives of developing the Smart Grid are quite different from country to country for their various demands and start points. However, the common objectives of a Smart Grid are clear and listed below:

  • Robustness: The Smart Grid shall improve resilience to disruption to provide continuous and stable electricity flows, avoiding wide-area breakout accidents. It shall guarantee the normal and secure run of the electricity grid even under the instance of emergency issues, such as natural disasters, extreme weather and man-made breakage, and provides self-healing abilities;
  • Secured operation: The Smart Grid shall enhance communication networks and information security of the electricity grid;
  • Compatibility: The Smart Grid shall support the integration of renewable electricity such as solar and wind, has the capacity of distributed generation access and micro-grids, improve demand response functions, implement the effective two-way communication with consumers and satisfy various electricity demands of consumers;
  • Economical energy usage: The Smart Grid shall have the capacity of more effective electricity markets and electricity trades, implement optimized configuration of resources, increase efficiency of the electricity grid, and reduce electricity grid wastage;
  • Integrated system: The Smart Grid shall highly integrate and share information and data of an electricity grid, utilize the uniform platform and model to provide standardized and refined management;
  • Optimization: The Smart Grid shall optimize assets, reduce costs and operate efficiently;
  • Green energy: The Smart Grid shall solve problems of energy security, energy saving, carbon dioxide emission, etc.

The utilities of the Smart Grid shall address the following challenges:

  • High power system loading;
  • Increasing distance between generation and load;
  • Fluctuating renewables;
  • New loads (hybrid/electric vehicles);
  • Increased use of distributed energy resources;
  • Cost pressure;
  • Utility unbundling;
  • Increased energy trading;
  • Transparent consumption & pricing for the consumer;
  • Significant regulatory push.
  • The key market drivers behind Smart Grid solutions are:
  • Need for more efficient use of energy;
  • Increased usage of renewable energy resources;
  • Sustainability;
  • Competitive energy prices;
  • Security of supply;
  • Ageing infrastructure and workforce

The priority of local drivers and challenges, will likely differ from country to country or by geographical region within a specific country.

Domains and Actors in the Smart Grid conceptual model


Actors in the Domain


The end users of electricity. May also store, and manage the use of energy. Traditionally, three customer types are discussed, each with its own domain: residential, commercial, and industrial.


The operators and participants in electricity markets.

Service Providers

The organizations providing services to electrical customers and utilities.


The managers of the movement of electricity.

Bulk Generation

The generators of electricity in bulk quantities. May also store energy for later distribution.


The carriers of bulk electricity over long distances. May also store and generate electricity.


The distributors of electricity to and from customers. May also store and generate electricity.

Communications Aspects of Smart Grid

The communication consists of the following two sub-planes or functional groupings.

Information Access. It determines the syntax and semantic of application related data. Given each specific domain, we shall define the format of data to meet the application/service requirements.

Communication Network. It enables the reliable, efficient and secured transmission of the application/ service specific data.

In the communication network, it is necessary to consider both the network architecture and performance measures to meet the application/service requirements, including the Quality of Service (QoS) and security of information transmission over the network. The detailed description is listed below:

For the network architecture, one shall consider different options, covering home area networks, access/neighbourhood area networks, and wide area networks, and the use of Internet-based technologies along with other choices.

For the QoS, one shall consider different metrics (i.e., end-to-end latency, bandwidth, jitter, and reliability) along with different types of applications (i.e., the amount of data needs to be transmitted in a given deadline in order to successfully accomplish a task). To be specific, the latency shall be very tight in SCADA system in comparison with the normal meter reading and configuration in Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI). In the August 14, 2003, blackout, a contributing factor was the issue with communications latency in control systems. With the exception of the initial power equipment problems, the on-going and cascading failures will be primarily due to problems in providing the right information to the right individuals within the right time period. Service differentiation and prioritization may be required depending on the quality and type of applications, which are supported by the communication links. Many standards and protocols mentioned above contain the mechanisms to achieve differentiated QoS services. As an example, the admission control, queuing scheduling algorithms, Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) and others have been extensively studied to provide QoS in IP networks.

Furthermore, the confidentiality, integrity and availability of network must be addressed as well. Confidentiality is preserving authorized restrictions on information access and disclosure, including means for protecting personal privacy and proprietary information. Integrity is the guarding against improper information modification or destruction, and includes ensuring information non-repudiation and authenticity. Each classification displays the level of adverse effect the destruction of information can be expected to have on organizational operations, organizational assets, or individuals. A loss of integrity is the unauthorized modification or destruction of information. Availability ensures timely and reliable access to and use of information. Each classification displays the level of adverse effect the disruption of access to or use of information or an information system can be expected to have on organizational operations, organizational assets, or individuals.

Power grid information security and protection requirements have aspects of the control network for the operation of energy transmission and distribution (i.e., SCADA), computer networks (i.e., transmitting meter data) as well as enterprise Information Technology (IT) network for business. Although all networks require information security services for dealing with malicious attacks or providing protection against inadvertent errors, specific distinctions in attack and error types, and differences in performance requirements as well as organizational policies for them make their required security posturing quite different in those areas. Hence, we shall systematically analyze the vulnerabilities in Smart Grid, explore the space of attacks targeting different weaknesses of Smart Grid, and develop possible countermeasures against those attacks.

Section 6.3 of this document states the relationship with other Smart Grid Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) that ITU-T believes are doing credible work on Smart Grids.  Those include:  IEC, ISO/IEC/JTC1 (Special Working Group on Smart Grid, WG on Sensor Networks), ITU-R, ETSI, ANSI (TIA, ATIS), China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), and IETF.  The three IEEE Smart Grid related standards are NOT listed and there is no reference to any IEEE Smart Grid activities.  Why not?

Section 7 examines the Characteristics of Smart Grid.  Three key elements of Smart Grid are listed: Smart Grid Services/Applications, Communications, and Physical Equipment.

Section 8 provides the Role and Key Areas of ICT for Smart Grid

Section 9 is an Architecture Overview of Smart Grid from an ICT Perspective

Section 10 addresses the Required Capabilities for Smart Grid

Section 11 covers relevent Smart Grid activities of ITU-T Study Groups (SGs).  These are listed in Appendix II.

Bibliograpy lists the NIST and IEC Smart Grid Roadmap documents

Comment and Analysis

This is a very comprehensive and complete look at Smart Grid from an ICT perspective.  It’s interesting that ITU-T does NOT reference IEEE work on Smart Grid, particularly the IEEE standards for Power Line Communications Equipment (P1775) and Networks (P1901).

ITU-T FG Cloud Wraps Up: 7 Deliverable Documents + Jan 9, 2012 Workshop on Cloud Computing and Smart Grid

FG Cloud Deliverable Documents

At their Dec 2011 meeting in Geneva, ITU-T FG on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) finalized seven output documents that were promised ITU-T TSAG as “deliverables.”  FG Cloud has proposed that these seven deliverables of FG Cloud will be also published as a technical report, and it will be publicly available with subject to approval by the ITU-T Streategic Advisory Group (TSAG) at their 10 – 13 January 2012 meeting in Geneva.

These seven deliverables are listed below along with their document numbers.  Here is a brief description of each:

  1. Introduction to the cloud ecosystem: definitions, taxonomies, use cases, and high level requirements: to provide cloud definitions and taxonomies, and to introduce cloud ecosystem, use cases and high level requirements focusing on integration of cloud model and technologies in telecommunication.
  2. Functional Requirements and Reference Architecture : to define functional requirements and reference architecture including layers and functional entities
  3. Requirements and framework architecture of cloud infrastructure : to provide requirements and framework architecture of cloud infrastructure
  4. Cloud Resource Management Gap Analysis : to identify gaps in cloud resource management standards that could be further developed into ITU-T Recommendations with the appropriate collaboration with related SDOs.
  5. Cloud Security : to identify several security threats and security requirements for cloud users and service providers and to propose cloud security study subjects to be worked in ITU-T
  6. Overview of SDOs involved in Cloud Computing : to provide a complete overview of main ITU-T and SDOs cloud standard activities, to map the FG Cloud activities to these SDOs and to produce a gap analysis from telecom perspectives
  7. Benefits from Telecommunication perspectives : to provide cloud benefits from telecom, partner and user perspectives and identifies general role of telecommunication players in cloud computing, and a list of candidate study items

ITU-T FG Cloud Deliverable Documents:

  1. Cloud-o-0079, Introduction to the cloud ecosystem: definitions, taxonomies, use cases, and high level requirements
  2. Cloud-o-0080, Functional requirements and reference architecture
  3. Cloud-o-0081, Requirements and framework architecture of cloud infrastructure
  4. Cloud-o-0082, Cloud Resource Management Gap Analysis
  5. Cloud-o-0083, Cloud Security
  6. Cloud-o-0084, Overview of SDOs involved in cloud computing
  7. Cloud-o-0085, Benefits from telecommunication perspectives

ITU-T 1 Day Workshop on “Cloud Computing and Smart Grid”

With the Cloud FG’s work completed and FG Smart producing a Smart Grid Overview document, ITU-T will hold a Workshop on “Cloud Computing and Smart Grid” at ITU Headquarters, Geneva, on 9 January 2012.

The workshop will facilitate the discussion in TSAG on the future direction of cloud computing and smart grid standardization by providing information on these technologies, showing the results of the Focus Groups activities and showing proposals from these Focus Groups.

-FG Cloud has completed its 8th meeting and has produced several final output documents including Reference Architecture, Security, Benefits to SPs, Overview of SDOs involved with Cloud, etc.

-FG Smart (Grid) will also report their activities at this workshop. They’ve produced a “Smart Grid Overview” Deliverable. More information at:


Here’s an article that mentions partnerships will be needed in cloud computing space:

Pyramid Research agrees:

“Service providers should partner with IT vendors and cooperate with software and content providers to increase the attractiveness of their cloud services.”

A new Pyramid report, Global Cloud Computing Market Is Strengthened by Telco Competition analyzes the competitive landscape of the global cloud computing industry. It defines the major players in the space and identifies external forces that influence the level of competition. Finally, the report examines major threats and uncertainties that slow down adoption of cloud computing, particularly in the enterprise sector. The report includes two case studies that illustrate how various players in the cloud industry cooperate to provide telco customers with cloud services that they need: HP’s alliance with Alcatel-Lucent and the implementation of Cisco’s CloudSystem at Telus.

“Competition in the cloud segment is increasing and new players are entering the marketplace aiming to monetize opportunities related to the proliferation of cloud services,” says Pyramid Analyst, Dr. Ewa Romaniuk-Calkowska.

Those already in the game are moving to form partnerships and strategic alliances to provide clients with integrated end-to-end solutions rather than specific elements or sub-segments of the cloud architecture. “Operators looking to partner with IT vendors should be diligent when selecting your cloud platform provider to ensure that the chosen solution fits best with your circumstances and cloud service strategy,” she adds.

IEEE Radio & Wireless Week: 15–18 January,2012 in Santa Clara Features Panel on Spectrum Sharing & Re-Use


IEEE Radio & Wireless Week (RWW) Conference comes to Santa Clara, CA the week of 15–18 January,2012.  IEEE ComSocSCV is co-sponsoring a free panel session (7pm-9pm on 15 Jan 2012) that will address Spectrum Sharing and Frequency Re-Use.

RWW 2012 Overview

IEEE RWW 2012 will consists of five related conferences that focus on the intersection between radio systems and wireless technology, creating a unique forum for engineers to discuss hardware design and system performance of state-of-the-art wireless systems and their end use applications. This multidisciplinary IEEE event will offer the latest information on wireless communications and networking, associated enabling technologies and emerging new services and applications.

In addition to the traditional three parallel sessions of podium technical talks and poster sessions, there will be an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer track, workshops, panels, and a relevant industry exhibition. A highlight on Tuesday will be the Plenary talk by Prof. Arogyaswami Paulraj, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University. 

For RWW2012 there will be two new activities:

1.  On Sunday evening there will be an open panel session for all wireless professionals (local and conference attendees).

2.  On Tuesday afternoon there will be a new demo track that will provide an interactive forum with hands-on demonstrations of the latest wireless experiments and innovations.

This multidisciplinary diversity is underlined by the four diverse IEEE Societies that are cosponsors of the RWW events: MTT-S, AP-S, ComSoc and EMB-S. 

The RWW Conference details, information on co-located conferences and the advanced registration link can be found at:

The RWW Agenda is at:

Why Attend RWW 2012?

We strongly believe that face to face conferences like RWW 2012 provide attendees with the opportunity to

  • See the latest work and the direction of future activities
  • Expanding your horizons and maybe see new directions for your work
  • Investigate and sample areas outside of your expertise – potential for the serendipity effect, thinking outside the box
  • Great chance to start, expand & renewi your personal network
  • Engage in Continuing Education by attending the workshops


This conference is different from many because of the multidisciplinary nature of the presentations and attendees. As noted above, “RWW 2012 will consists of five related conferences that focus on the intersection between radio systems and wireless technology, creating a unique forum for engineers to discuss hardware design and system performance of state-of-the-art wireless systems and their end use applications. This multidisciplinary IEEE event will offer the latest information on wireless communications and networking, associated enabling technologies and emerging new services and applications.”

There will be a diverse mix of attendees offering opportunities to meet, to learn from and to network with those in all aspects of the wireless food chain.

RWW 2012 Conference Highlights

-The open Sunday evening panel session  — open to all, no registration required

-The workshops — half day Sunday, can be registered for independent of the conference

-The Plenary with Prof Paulraj  — Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, 2011 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell medalist

-The Distinguished Lectures that are a part of the conference   (from MTTS, ComSoc & APS)

-And the conference itself – the Advance Program is posted

IEEE ComSocSCV Co-sponsored Panel Session on 15 Jan 2012

IEEE ComSocSCV is co-sponsoring the 15 Jan 2012 Panel on Spectrum Sharing & Frequency Re-Use.  We see this as the best way to alleviate bandwidth bottlenecks in Radio Access Networks (e.g. 3G, WiMAX and LTE) caused by the explosive growth in mobile data traffic. 

Abstract:  The growing demand for wireless services makes “green field” spectrum very difficult to find. There is an increase in interest in providing new wireless services by sharing available and underutilized spectrum. These approaches have to be designed so that they do not have an impact on the environment. The environmental issues have lead to several spectrum policy battles in recent years. This is because there are vastly different viewpoints on what is considered a harmful interference and what is considered a reasonable receiver in a given context. These battles can discourage investment in innovative wireless technology that requires non-routine approvals.

This session takes a technical and policy perspective on the underlying causes behind the controversies. It reviews recent controversial examples such as GPS/LightSquared, AWS-3, UWB, and Northpoint.

Further information on this free event (no RSVP required- just show up), including all panel participants,  is at:

We hope to see you there!

WiMAX industry refocuses on new markets and opportunities led by WiMAX Forum, Author: Mo Shakouri of Alvarion

Telecom industry has changed significantly over the last 10 year and WiMAX Forum has also adopted. Of course most of WiMAX success is happening outside NA.

Intel and Clearwire were the key marketing noise for WiMAX and they have their own challenges.

Also battle of WIMAX and LTE is 2+ year old and not relevant in the market today.  MOBILE Operators mainly are deploying 3G FDD with LTE being the future growth path (but FOG of LTE with 40+ flavors that will take many years to resolve!). LTE is going through the hype that WIMAX had 4 years ago.

WiMAX is being used for 4G mobile broadband in certain markets (Japan (I think UQ alone has 1M subscribers), Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia,…)  but main focus of WiMAX operators is broadband connectivity and verticals that is feeding most of growth. It is a market of $1.5-2B today and growing!  

WiMAX Forum participants are not dreaming anymore, just making business. I was in Africa a few weeks ago and 150+ people attended wimax operator summit  and Alvarion alone has 70 operator deployment of WiMAX in that region. Therefore, WiMAX is a key solution for emerging market but the biggest challenge for our industry is financial mess that is limiting the deployments. 

A few key facts:
1.  WiMAX industry grow 15-20%  this year to about 18M+ subscribers
2.   WiMAX Forum is a 200+ member organization
3.   WiMAX Development focus:

  • IEEE 802.16e-2205 std  enhancements (increase capacity)
  • IEEE 802.16M (AKA WiMAX 2.0) certification (release 2)
  • Smart Grid, Airport workgroups and task force on Verticals such as smart cities,…
  • 500+ WiMAX operator (regional operator initiatives)  Most do not have LTE ecosystem spectrum!
  • Focus on TDD spectrum (2.3/2.5G, 3.5G , 5.xG)

4. Vertical work groups and activities

  • Smart Grid
  • Airports
  • Smart Cities and verticals

Mo Shakouri, PhD
Corp VP Alvarion
Board member, Chairman WiMAX Forum
[email protected]

*Note: “Deployments” in this case refers to WiMAX networks that are either in service or planned/in deployment (i.e. base stations are being deployed, but there are few/no subscribers yet).

Total Deployments Track
ed    584
Total Countries** with WiMAX Deploymen
ts    150
**Note: “Countries” in this case is representative of distinct telecommunications markets, and therefore this number may equal more than the total number of sovereign nations recognized by the UN. For example, Hong Kong and China have different regulatory structures, and are therefore treated as different market


Region    Deployments   Countries
Africa    121    44
CALA    118    32
Asia-Pacific    99    24
Eastern Europe    83    21
Western Europe    77    18
North America (USA/Canada)    56    2
Middle East    30    9


2.3 GHz Deployments***    48
2.5 GHz Deployments***    113
3.3 GHz Deployments***    10
3.5 GHz Deployments***    309
5+ GHz Deployments***    21
***Note: In above table total deployment by Frequency may not add up to total deployments tracked. The missing deployments’ statuses are unknown, and will be confirmed and updat

For more information please visit

In February, 2011, WiMAX Forum announced that as of the end of 2010, WiMAX service providers cover more than 823 Million people. This estimate surpasses last year’s forecast of 800M people, and signifies that WiMAX is still on target to reach the forecast that by 2011 there will be over 1 Billion people across the world within WiMAX coverage. This POPs update is a yearly project, and will be updated again at the beginning of 2012. Below is a regional breakout of the estimate:

Region    POPs Covered
Africa    87,347,832
Asia-Pacific    322,666,970
CALA    117,846,830
Eastern Europe    102,503,669
Middle East    33,509,544
North America    127,000,000
Western Europe    32,526,407
TOTAL    823,401,252
*These numbers represent an estimate conducted by WiMAX Forum via primary and secondary research of operator POPs coverage on an operator-by-operator basis. Where the operator could not or would not respond to direct inquiry, estimates were made based on public operator statements, number of base stations, government-mandated buildout requirements, and other available information. Proprietary networks (pre-WiMAX/non-WiMAX) were not included, and geographic overlap of operator coverage areas was taken into account.

WiMAX Forum, in partnership with Multiview, has launched its weekly WiMAX Newsbrief. This weekly summary of news from around the WiMAX ecosystem is intended as a benefit to our members. If you do not yet receive the Newsbrief and wish to do so, please sign up here:

Verizon Wireless Pays $3.6 Billion to buy Spectrum putting pressure on AT&T

Verizon Wireless agreed to buy $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from a consortium of cable companies, ratcheting up pressure on AT&T as it fights to salvage its deal to take over T-Mobile USA. Verizon will gain spectrum covering 259 million Americans and can sell its service in the cable companies’ stores.

From the press release:

“SpectrumCo, LLC, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, today announced it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Verizon Wireless will acquire its 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses covering 259 million POPs for $3.6 billion. Comcast owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $2.3 billion from the sale. Time Warner Cable owns 31.2% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $1.1 billion. Bright House Networks owns 5.3% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $189 million.”

The deal gives Verizon more capacity as it builds out its high-speed fourth-generation network nationwide, a competitive advantage as AT&T devotes more resources into getting the T-Mobile buyout past regulatory muster. AT&T has said the $39 billion deal, which the Justice Department has sued to block, is crucial to freeing up its network for data-hungry devices such as the Apple Inc. iPhone.

AT&T has met resistance to its plan to acquire T-Mobile because of concerns it would be anticompetitive and raise consumer prices.  If that merger was approved, AT&T would leapfrog Verizon as the largest carrier in terms of customers. Verizon’s spectrum acquisition deal wouldn’t seem to present as much of a regulatory challenge, since the cable companies’ spectrum was otherwise unused.

Verizon said it will pay $2.3 billion to Comcast, $1.1 billion to Time Warner and $189 million to Bright House. The carrier is expected to reach at least 200 million Americans with its 4G network by year-end, compared with about 70 million from AT&T.

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