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Wi-Fi, HomePlug Alliances Collaborate On Smart Grid Apps

Interoperability between Wi-Fi equipment and devices linked to powerline home networks at heart of joint effort.
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The Wi-Fi Alliance and the HomePlug Powerline Alliance have teamed up to promote their respective technologies in smart grid applications, the pair announced Tuesday.

An agreement between the organizations calls for them to review their specifications and standards that facilitate interoperability of smart grid apps while jointly researching the promotion of their technologies for smart grids.

The two take part in the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Forum and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); both organizations seek to accelerate and harmonize standards development for the smart grid. The U.S. Department of Energy and NIST have developed initial specifications for smart energy management of home area network devices. "Both Wi-Fi and HomePlug solutions will play key roles in energy management and connecting home systems and appliances to the smart grid," Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, said in a statement. "HomePlug and Wi-Fi devices represent a large share of installed nodes worldwide, and ensuring seamless interoperability is critical for broad-scale smart grid deployment."

Edgar Figueroa, chief executive officer of the Wi-Fi Alliance, also hailed the collaboration, saying that it will facilitate interoperability between Wi-Fi equipment and devices linked to powerline home networks. Both alliances have been working to certify specifications of their respective product areas. The Wi-Fi Alliance, which has carried out more than 8,000 product certifications, began its certification program in 2000, while the HomePlug Alliance has been working on its specification program in recent months with its HomePlug AV2 broadband specification expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011. An installed base of more than 60 million devices has been recorded by the HomePlug Alliance.

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