The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) announced the findings of the home appliance industry’s technical evaluation of communications protocols for smart grid enabled home appliances. The results of the evaluation can be found in a newly released Assessment of Communication Standards for Smart Appliances.

The results of the latest report are based on a technical evaluation of numerous existing technologies designed for the Application (APP), Network (NET), and Media (MAC, PHY) layers of communications protocols. Each technology was evaluated against a set of consumer requirements, as identified by participating AHAM members, and ranked using a requirements driven scoring system by an independent consultant on the ability of the technology to meet the unique needs of appliance consumers.

According to the Assessment’s results, the most relevant communications technologies were clearly separated from their peers for use in smart grid appliance applications. For the Application layer, SEP 2.0 and OpenADR scored the highest. Across the physical, media and network layers evaluated, Wi-Fi, ZigBee and HomePlug Green PHY scored the highest.

Further, in addition to the evaluation of the existing technologies, the Assessment presents a clear position by the home appliance industry that the preferable communications architecture at this time features a hub that can communicate using common protocols and serve as the bridge to other devices on the Home Area Network (HAN).

“The release of this Assessment marks a major milestone for the appliance industry and another step toward successful deployment of smart grid enabled appliances. This study will assist appliance manufacturers in helping consumers to take advantage of new grid enabled appliances,” said Joseph M. McGuire, AHAM President.

This Assessment was developed to address the four communication parameters, namely an open, flexible, secure and limited in number set of communication standards, outlined in AHAM’s previous White Paper titled, “The Home Appliance Industry’s Principles & Requirements for Achieving a Widely Accepted Smart Grid,” released in December 2009.