What Can Wireless Cellular Technologies Do about the Upcoming Smart Metering Traffic?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of smart electricity meters with cellular radio interface puts an additional load on the wireless cellular networks. Currently, these meters are designed for low duty cycle billing and occasional system check, which generates a low-rate sporadic traffic.
As the number of distributed energy resources increases, the household power will become more variable and thus unpredictable from the viewpoint of the Distribution System Operator (DSO). It is therefore expected, in the near future, to have an increased number of Wide Area Measurement System (WAMS) devices with Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU)-like capabilities in the distribution grid, thus allowing the utilities to monitor the low voltage grid quality while providing information required for tighter grid control.
From a communication standpoint, the traffic profile will change drastically towards higher data volumes and higher rates per device. In this paper, we characterize the current traffic generated by smart electricity meters and supplement it with the potential traffic requirements brought by introducing enhanced Smart Meters, i.e., meters with PMU-like capabilities. Our study shows how GSM/GPRS and LTE cellular system performance behaves with the current and next generation smart meters traffic, where it is clearly seen that the PMU data will seriously challenge these wireless systems. We conclude by highlighting the possible solutions for upgrading the cellular standards, in order to cope with the upcoming smart metering traffic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E Communications Magazine
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)41 - 47
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2015


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