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Control-Aware Wireless Sensor Network Platform for the Smart Electric Grid


James Gadze


Vol. 9  No. 1  pp. 16-26


The communications needs of monitoring and control of the electric grid is traditionally catered for by wired communication systems. These technologies ensured high reliability and bandwidth but are however very expensive, inflexible and do not support mobility and pervasive monitoring. The communication protocols are Ethernet-based that used contention access protocols which result in high unsuccessful transmission and delay. The use of embedded wireless sensor and actuator networks for monitoring and control of the electric grid requires secure, reliable and timely exchange of information among controllers, distributed sensors and actuators. The exchange of information is over a shared wireless medium. However, wireless media is highly unpredictable due to path loss, shadow fading and ambient noise. Monitoring and control applications have stringent requirements on reliability, delay and security. The primary issue addressed in this paper is the impact of harsh power system environment on reliable and timely information exchange in wireless sensor and actuator networks. A combined networking and information theoretic approach was adopted to determine the transmit power required to maintain a minimum wireless channel capacity for reliable data transmission. We also develop a channel-aware optimal slot allocation scheme that ensures efficient utilization of the wireless link and guarantee delay. Various analytical evaluations and simulations are used to evaluate and validate the feasibility of the methodologies and demonstrate that the protocols achieved reliable and real-time data delivery in wireless industrial sensor networks.


Embedded wireless sensor network, real-time monitoring and control, reservation- TDMA, cross-layer optimization