Heterogeneous wireless networks for smart grid distribution systems: Advantages and limitations

Tarek Khalifa, Atef Abdrabou, Khaled Shaban, A. M. Gaouda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Supporting a conventional power grid with advanced communication capabilities is a cornerstone to transferring it to a smart grid. A reliable communication infrastructure with a high throughput can lay the foundation towards the ultimate objective of a fully automated power grid with self-healing capabilities. In order to realize this objective, the communication infrastructure of a power distribution network needs to be extended to cover all substations including medium/low voltage ones. This shall enable information exchange among substations for a variety of system automation purposes with a low latency that suits time critical applications. This paper proposes the integration of two heterogeneous wireless technologies (such as WiFi and cellular 3G/4G) to provide reliable and fast communication among primary and secondary distribution substations. This integration allows the transmission of different data packets (not packet replicas) over two radio interfaces, making these interfaces act like a one data pipe. Thus, the paper investigates the applicability and effectiveness of employing heterogeneous wireless networks (HWNs) in achieving the desired reliability and timeliness requirements of future smart grids. We study the performance of HWNs in a realistic scenario under different data transfer loads and packet loss ratios. Our findings reveal that HWNs can be a viable data transfer option for smart grids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1517
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 11 2018


  • Communication infrastructure
  • Distribution system
  • Heterogeneous wireless networks
  • Smart grids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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