ITU-T smart grid expert receives IEEE award

Stefano Galli, ITU-T’s lead expert on smart grid communications, is one of 2013’s recipients of the prestigious IEEE Donald G. Fink Award in recognition of his contribution to the field of power line communications (PLC) and the technology’s application in the development of smart grid.

Galli leads ITU-T’s smart-grid standardization work in his role as Rapporteur for Question 15: Communications for Smart Grid, a task team of ITU-T Study Group 15 (Networks, Technologies and Infrastructures for Transport, Access and Home). He is, in addition, a Co-convener of ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on Smart Grid and Home Networking (JCA-SG&HN), the group coordinating smart-grid and home-networking standardization work across ITU and acting as the first point of contact for organizations interested in contributing to this work.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established the IEEE Donald G. Fink Award in 1979 to reward excellence in the authoring of surveys, reviews or tutorial papers published in the IEEE Transactions, Journals, Magazines, or in the Proceedings of the IEEE. The award is named in honour of Donald G. Fink: a distinguished editor and author, past President of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), and the first General Manager and Executive Director of IEEE.

Galli earned the award for his role played in authoring a paper titled, “For the Grid and Through the Grid: The Role of Power Line Communications in the Smart Grid”, published in the Proceedings of the IEEE (vol. 99, no. 6, pp. 998–1027). IEEE notes that the paper “is considered the most complete review of power line communications (PLC) technology published to date,” and that it “has quickly become a key reference document for the application of PLC technology in smart grids.” The paper offers a detailed breakdown of the role played by communications technologies in smart grid, familiarizing readers with the history of PLC methods and the latest advances in work to leverage PLC in the smart-grid functions for which the technology is best suited.

The paper was co-authored by Galli, an IEEE Fellow and Director of Technology Strategy with ASSIA, Inc. (Redwood City, CA, USA); Dr. Anna Scaglione, an IEEE Fellow and professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of California (Davis, CA, USA); and Dr. Zhifang Wang, an IEEE Member and assistant professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA, USA).

In December 2011 – representing the culmination of a standards effort in which Galli played an integral role – ITU members approved Recommendations ITU-T G.9955 and G.9956, a family of international narrowband powerline communications (NB-PLC) standards that will enable cost-effective smart grid applications such as distribution automation, diagnostic and fault location, smart metering, demand response, energy management, smart appliances, grid-to-home communications and advanced recharging systems for electric vehicles.

The next-generation NB-PLC transceivers defined in the ITU standards family are optimized for the various topologies and characteristics of power grids around the world, and the family’s support for Ethernet, IPv4 and IPv6 ensures that smart grid networks can easily be integrated with IP-based networks. The standards contain the physical layer (PHY) and the data link layer (DLL) specifications, respectively, for NB-PLC transceivers based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing).

Read more on ITU’s family of NB-PLC standards in a press release issued upon its approval.

Subsequent to the standards’ approval in 2011, September 2012 saw ITU-T Study Group 15 experts agreeing to the repackaging of Recommendations ITU-T G.9955 and G.9956 into four Recommendations (G.9901, G.9902, G.9903 and G.9904), a move designed to increase the clarity of this important family of standards and thereby stimulate industry adoption. Read the newslog article reporting this decision here.

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