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A Smart Grid communications infrastructure allows utilities to interact with devices on their electric grid as well as with customers and distributed power generation and storage facilities. To achieve the full vision of the Smart Grid, utilities need to support multiple networks: the Home Area Networks (HANs) for consumer energy efficiency; the Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) for advanced metering applications; and the Wide Area Network (WAN) for distribution automation and the backbone of the Smart Grid. The exclusive focus of this paper is the WAN. The material, intended for a business decision-maker audience, is organized into three sections followed by a brief conclusion. The first section describes the role of the WAN in a utility's own Smart Grid.
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