This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Wireless Mesh Routing in Smart Utility Networks




Iyer, Gopalakrishnan

Type of Degree



Electrical Engineering


Today’s world is more dependent on electrical power than ever. This dependency will increase manifold in the near future with more systems being computerized and a plethora of new electronic devices emerging for household, commercial and industrial applications. The availability of reliable electric power is crucial to sustaining current development and economic growth trends. Integrating intermittent power generated from renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, geothermal and other energy sources with the existing power grid is the single greatest challenge of the 21st century. In order to achieve this task, a highly granular measurement of power consumed is paramount to achieving optimal efficiency through demand-response programs. This is the Smart Grid initiative, aimed at installing a highly efficient communication infrastructure for consumption data acquisition to achieve optimal demand-response of resources. Recent advances in wireless communication technology, has allowed for low cost, low power devices to be deployed in large scale. The Smart Utility network is one such widely deployed network which is inherently tied to the physical systems of electric power, water and gas. A network of such devices, performing critical tasks requires an efficient data routing protocol in order to function as designed. Data routing protocols such as AODV (Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector) and DSR (Dynamic Source Routing), developed for wireless sensor networks fail to address the requirements of these networks in terms of inter-operability, routing metrics, network topology and sheer scale of the network size. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) has developed a conceptual reference model for deployment of smart utility networks and has laid out the framework for interoperable systems for the smart grid. This thesis provides an overview of the existing communication infrastructure for the legacy power grid while describing the rapidly growing smart grid initiative and analyzes the performance of the wireless mesh routing protocols of Geographical routing and RPL (Routing Protocol for Low power and lossy networks) as applied to smart utility networks. Various routing metrics of packet success probability, end-end delay, hop count and link quality have been considered for this performance analysis. Further, realistic network topologies, obtained from actual smart meter network deployments in North America have been modeled in simulations to derive at results pertinent to the applicability of these wireless mesh routing protocols to Advanced Metering Infrastructure comprising of smart utility networks. The core contribution in this thesis is the construction of a simulation model for routing in wireless mesh utility networks using the discrete event simulator OMNeT++ and subsequent analysis of the two mentioned routing protocols using real-world topologies. This work has been performed in collaboration with Landis+Gyr, who provided actual deployment data for smart utility networks.