Wi-SUN Logo

Bureau of Indian Standards Adopts Wi‑SUN Alliance Wireless Communications Specification

Wi-SUN FAN Becomes the National Standard for India Smart Meter RF Communication Networks

The endorsement demonstrates that Wi-SUN FAN is an industry standard for interoperable wireless solutions in India.

March 4, 2024 – Bangalore, India – The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national standards body of India, has adopted Wi-SUN Alliance FAN (Field Area Networks) specification as included in IEEE 2857-2021, as the national standard for India’s Smart Meter RF Communication Networks. This adoption also aims to enable interoperable, multi-service and secure wireless communications networks for government, utilities, service providers, and enterprises in India.

A global ecosystem of 350+ industry leading companies driving the adoption of interoperable wireless solutions for use in smart utilities and smart cities, the Wi-SUN Alliance FAN specification is used to support the specification and rollout of large-scale outdoor networks including smart metering projects, smart grids, street lighting, and other IoT applications.

In a bid to achieve energy independence, India is heavily focusing on renewables with successive budgets allocating resources for the same. In its 2024-25 vote-on-account budget, the Indian government allocated $9 billion towards providing 300 units of free electricity to 10 million households every month  through rooftop solarisation. The government also allocated $1.9 billion towards the development of 100 smart cities in the country. Such ambitious undertakings require India’s Public Sector Undertakings and associated stakeholders to adopt smart grids, smart meters and more importantly, solutions that are interoperable to ensure their success.

“The adoption of Wi-SUN Alliance wireless communications specification, incorporated in IEEE 2857, as a standard for India by the BIS is a clear signal that the National Standards Body recognises the role that wireless mesh technology will play in driving the growth of smart cities in India and the rapid rollout of smart meter projects over the next few years,” adds Phil Beecher, President and CEO of Wi-SUN Alliance. “This recognition is also a huge growth opportunity for member companies based in India, including Cisco, Renesas, Silicon Labs, Texas Instruments, Exegin, and CyanConnode, as well as those looking to expand into the Indian market.”

Wi-SUN has a track record as a proven standard for smart metering networks and has deployed millions of units across various countries, ensuring reliability. Security of IoT devices is among the top concerns for various utility companies in India working on a PPP model. Proprietary solutions pose security risks owing to the limitations in transparency and dependency on vendors for support and maintenance. Unlike proprietary solutions, open standard solutions like Wi-SUN FAN offer transparency, interoperability and flexibility, eliminating the risk of single point failures.

Wi-SUN FAN uses public-key infrastructure (PKI), with each device containing a unique identity certificate. This enables mutual authentication of devices and the network, preventing rogue devices from accessing the network. Wi-SUN FAN’s adoption of IPv6 facilitates the use of standard enterprise network security tools. This ensures utilities can conduct intrusion detection, traffic shaping, network analysis, and penetration testing, allowing for better mitigation of DOS attacks, while offering better network visibility. Proprietary solutions don’t fit the BIS requirements, making Wi-SUN the logical choice for long-term operations and maintenance.

Wi-SUN’s wireless mesh technology is currently supporting the Smart City Living Lab project in Hyderabad, a partnership between the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H), the government of Telangana, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology India. As an established IoT centre of excellence, the Smart City Living Lab serves as a test bed for smart city technologies to help drive economic growth and local development.

“Smart meters are pivotal for India’s ambitious Smart City projects and it will help distribution companies manage the dynamic and disruptive changes occurring in the grids, especially with the infusion of solar energy, home automation systems, electric vehicles, and more. For any Smart City, smart metering is a prerequisite. Wi-SUN’s wireless communication standards are great for implementing such large-scale projects in the country as it provides the credibility of an open standard that is secure and interoperable,” said Amarjeet Kumar, India Regional Coordinator, Wi-SUN Alliance.

“[India Smart Grid Forum] ISGF has been closely associated with Wi-SUN Alliance for over a decade and we complement the ground breaking work done by Phill Beecher and his team at Wi-SUN over the years. Wi-SUN’s field area network (FAN) standard has emerged as the global standard which is adopted by IEEE as IEEE 2857 and by Bureau of Indian Standards as IS:18010(Part4/Sec1). This is a great achievement and in India we should ideally make it mandatory for all smart metering and smart city applications which will ensure interoperability between different systems and reduce total cost of ownership of all applications” said Reji Pillai, President (ISGF), Chairman, Global Smart Energy Federation (GSEF)

Wi-SUN FAN technical specification and test labs in India

Wi-SUN Alliance is already running the Wi-SUN FAN PHY certification program for the Indian frequency band (865-868MHz). Several member companies have already certified their products. Any new product can get tested at TUV Rheinland Bangalore; a Wi-SUN approved lab for certification. Wi-SUN Alliance is also working on starting the certification program for Wi-SUN FAN specification shortly and currently it is in pre-certification stage. The test setup available at the approved lab for Wi-SUN FAN certification can also be used for IEEE 2857 and BIS standard IS 18010 (Part4/Sec1) compliance testing and verification.

Improving the operational efficiency, profitability and cost effectiveness of power distribution companies in India calls for the rapid adoption of smart metering technology. While India has currently installed 8.6 million smart metres, it’s still in the nascent stage of rolling out this technology to all households in the country, providing immense growth potential for solutions offering interoperability.

Abhijit Grewal, Senior Marketing Director, Smart Cities at Wi-SUN member company, Silicon Labs, who is working closely with IIIT-H to support the Smart City Living Lab project, says: “With India’s desire to roll out more than 250 million smart metres by 2025, there’s an urgent need to find a wireless communications standard that can scale, while meeting interoperability, reliability, and security requirements. The campus-wide Wi-SUN network already in place to control street lighting and connect nearby sensor nodes onto the network, provides us with a unique opportunity to showcase Wi-SUN solutions in a real-world environment”.