The general internet community needs to be aware of activities in North
America that directly relate to the use of IETF protocols in the Electric
Utility industry. This activity is generally referred to as the SmartGrid.
Though the issues immediately deal with technical and policy decisions in
the US and Canada, the SmartGrid concept is gaining significant momentum in
Europe and Asia as well.
The SmartGrid has many definitions but as a practical matter it is a
substantial re-architecture of the data communications networks that
utilities use to maintain the stability and reliability of their power
grids. Many of the requirements for the SmartGrid in North America came out
of the 2003 North East power outage which demonstrated a substantial lack of
investment in Utility IT systems.
Of particular note, is the desire by utilities to extend the reach of their
communications networks directly to the utility meter and beyond ultimately
into the customer premise itself. This is generally referred to as the
Advanced Meter Interface (AMI). One of the use cases driving this
requirement is the next generation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The
utilities, correctly IMHO, want to precisely control the timing of how these
vehicles are recharged so not to create a unique form of DOS attack and take
out the grid when everyone goes home at night. This is a principal use case
in 6lowpan ( ID below ). Increasingly energy flows are becoming
bi-directional creating needs for more computational intelligence and
capability at the edge.
What is going on? Why should the IETF community care?
The United States Government, as part of the Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007 gave the National Institute of Standards and Technology
( NIST ) principal responsibility "to coordinate development of a framework
that includes protocols and model standards" for the SmartGrid.
After several meetings sponsored by NIST in recent months, NIST released a
preliminary report. Several folks from the IETF community attended those
meetings, myself included. There multiple troubling stories about how those
meetings were organized but I'll leave those tales to others.
One of the requests from NIST and the SmartGrid community was a list of Core
Internet protocols that NIST could refer to. Fred Baker has been working on
that task. ( below )
Myself and others are deeply concerned by how this effort is developing.
There is no current consensus on what the communications architecture of the
SmartGrid is or how IP actually fits into it.
The Utility Industry does not understand the current IPv4 number exhaust
problem and the consequences of that if they want to put a IP address on
every Utility Meter in North America.
What is equally troubling is that many of the underlying protocols that
utilities wish to deploy are not engineered for IPv6. We have an example of
that in a recent ID.
Obviously, there are significant CyberSecurity issues in the SmartGrid
concept and NIST has produced a useful document outlining the requirements
How the SmartGrid interfaces with or bridges with Home Area or Enterprise
Local Area networks is unclear, to put it mildly.
I want to use this message to encourage the community to read the attached
documents and get involved in this effort as appropriate. Additional NIST
documents will be published shortly with a open public comment period.
I strongly urge members of the IETF community to participate in this comment
period and lend its expertise as necessary.
It's useful and important work.
Title : Core Protocols in the Internet Protocol Suite
Author(s) : F. Baker
Filename : draft-baker-ietf-core-03.txt
Pages : 32
Date : 2009-10-03
This note attempts to identify the core of the Internet Protocol Suite. The
target audience is NIST, in the Smart Grid discussion, as they have
requested guidance on how to profile the Internet Protocol Suite. In
general, that would mean selecting what they need from the picture presented
A URL for this Internet-Draft is:
Title : Design and Application Spaces for 6LoWPANs
Author(s) : E. Kim, et al.
Filename : draft-ietf-6lowpan-usecases-04.txt
Pages : 30
Date : 2009-10-01
This document investigates potential application scenarios and use cases for
low-power wireless personal area networks (LoWPANs). This document provides
dimensions of design space for LoWPAN applications.
A list of use cases and market domains that may benefit and motivate the
work currently done in the 6LoWPAN WG is provided with the characterisitcis
of each dimention. A complete list of practical use cases is not the goal
of this document.
A URL for this Internet-Draft is:
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