openHAN

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The openHAN standard for home area networks and their home grid functions is one of the NIST smart grid standards sanctioned for North America by NERC. Unlike other networking standards it affects in-home networking between AC-powered devices. It primarily relies on AC powerline networking as defined by IEEE 1901 and packet management under ITU G.hn. The closest DC equivalent is power over ethernet (PoE) which likewise puts power and data all on one wire, and likewise has about one gigabit capacity. Unlike PoE which requires cat5 or cat6 ethernet, however, openHAN makes use of all existing wire (AC outlets, cable coax and telephone cat3). See references below for consumer-friendly explanations.

Smart appliances and smart meters (which also must meet openADR) must meet the openHAN standard. The appliance interface connector ensures openHAN devices can communicate with each other. The energy services interface defines how energy use is managed. Home grid evolution from 2010 to 2020 will depend on openHAN at every level.

Implementing companies include Synapse, the ZigBee consortium and others currently testing their equipment.

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