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A Review of Wireless and Satellite-Based M2M/IoT Services in Support of Smart Grids


The Smart Grid (SG) is an evolution of the electricity network that dynamically integrates the activities and energy control of power consumers, power generators, distribution systems, and devices connected to the grid (e.g., substations, transformers, and so on). The goal of the SG is to economically and efficiently deliver a sustainable, reliable, and secure electricity supply. Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology is designed for automated data exchange between devices, and thus has applicability to SGs. With M2M technology, organizations track and manage assets; inventories; transportation fleets; oil and gas pipelines; mines; wide-spread infrastructure; natural phenomena such as weather conditions, crop production, forestry condition, and water flows; and, as noted, SGs. Wireless communication is a staple of M2M. These wireless technologies range from unlicensed local connectivity, to licensed 3G/4G/5G cellular, to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. All of these technologies are relevant to the SG. Utilities have started to gradually support M2M and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems over satellite links. This article focuses on wireless and satellite-based M2M services, as applicable to the Smart Grid, including the use of Internet of Things (IoT), particularly for the transmission and distribution (T&D) space sector; some comparisons to wireline solutions are also discussed.

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  1. PLC is a wireline technology for data exchange over power lines by using advanced modulation methods.

  2. LTE-M is the industry term for the LTE-MTC (Machine-Type Communications) LPWA 3GPP Release 13 specification, specifically LTE CatM1, suitable for the IoT.


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A shorter version of this paper was originally presented at the 1st EAI International Conference on Smart Grid Assisted Internet of Things (SGIoT 2017), July 11–13, 2017, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.

Portions of this work were funded by the NSF grant 1743427.

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Correspondence to Kazem Sohraby or Daniel Minoli.

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Sohraby, K., Minoli, D., Occhiogrosso, B. et al. A Review of Wireless and Satellite-Based M2M/IoT Services in Support of Smart Grids. Mobile Netw Appl 23, 881–895 (2018).

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  • Smart grid
  • Wireless
  • Very small aperture terminals (VSATs)
  • High throughput satellites
  • Ka-band
  • Machine-to-machine (M2M)
  • Device-to-device (D2D)
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)