Background: The determination and implementation of most appropriate communication technology
for the various communication networks in the smart grid network infrastructure are of prime importance
as described in recent patents. The communication technologies used are dependent on the different
applications of the wireless sensor networks (WSN) discriminated with respect to reliability, latency, data
payloads and sampling rates deployed in the smart grids. Traditionally, the network infrastructure constitutes
of three main layers, e.g. wide area networks (WAN) intra-connected by wires and optical fibers, neighborhood
area networks (NAN) and home area networks (HAN) founded on the IEEE 802.11 protocol (Wi-Fi)
as implemented in Model II.
Methods: This paper attempts to implement the neighborhood area network (NAN) and home area networks
(HAN) by using IEEE 802.15.4 protocol as Model I, to prolong the network lifetime and to reduce
the average end to end delay.
Results: The performance is evaluated by thoroughly analyzing the average end-to-end delay with respect
to the packet interval, throughput, energy consumption, packet reception rate and network lifetime
with respect to the packet size. The simulations are performed on QualNet 6.1 simulator. The results illustrate
that the use of ZigBee significantly increases the network lifetime alongwith the reduction in
average end to end delay making it suitable for real-time data monitoring for longer duration.
Conclusion: The objective of this work is to determine the influence of IEEE 802.15.4 on the performance
of WSNs in electric grids and to draw the attention of researchers in this area. The main objective
to determine an appropriate communication model for the HANs and NANs in the smart grid has
been successfully achieved. It is concluded that for the non-delay critical and real time monitoring IEEE
802.15.4 is most suitable having lower delay and longer network network lifetime.