Reducing electricity consumption and integrating renewable power generation sources represent two of the main drivers of the so-called Smart Grid. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications will play a key role on making such a Smart Grid a reality, since they will enable the required bidirectional real-time bulk information exchange. However, communications for the Smart Grid present specific requirements from both technical and economic perspectives, so it is crucial to evaluate how existing communication architectures and technologies meet them before undertaking the important investments needed to deploy this kind of infrastructure on a large scale. The main goal of this paper is to evaluate, from different perspectives, the core M2M communications infrastructure of a platform designed to reduce electricity consumption and integrate renewable generation at residential level. Such a communications infrastructure is fully based on widely deployed wireless communications technologies such as IEEE 802.11 and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Notably, the paper assesses the operational costs of using different security solutions in the GPRS segment and the performance of the selected communications technologies based on different metrics (goodput, in the case of IEEE 802.11, and transmission time, in the case of GPRS).
information and communications technologies; machine-to-machine communications; neighborhood area networks; security; simulation; smart grid