MORGAN HILL, Calif. - The USNAP Alliance, an industry consortium of major stakeholders and utilities involved with the smart grid, has announced the draft release of its 2.0 Specification for public comment.

The goal of the USNAP 2.0 Specification is to facilitate connectivity between smart grid devices (SGDs) and universal communication modules (UCMs) installed in a home area network (HAN). The 2.0 Specification defines the hardware interface, physical dimensions, data transfer, message and contents for the HAN devices. The root of the specification utilizes the serial peripheral interface (SPI) port found on most chips as the basic transport layer. The card itself is only 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) square, making it small enough to fit into virtually any energy-consuming product, said the alliance. USNAP cards are already available through traditional channels supporting ZigBee, Z-Wave, RDS, Wi-Fi, and FlexNet. The alliance plans to incorporate power line and Internet Protocol communication technologies in future specifications.

“We’re very excited to offer this body of work encompassing the intellectual development of our members that represent all important facets of the smart grid industry,” said Jon Rappaport, chairman of the USNAP Alliance. “With the completion of the 2.0 Specification, there will be a wide range of HAN products coming to market that utilize the small and inexpensive USNAP solution, supporting both factory and consumer installed scenarios.”

“Today, with over 40 protocols of HAN communication available, it’s difficult if not impossible for manufacturers and utilities to decide with certainty what techniques are commercially feasible now and will remain so within the next five or 10 years,” said Barry Haaser, executive director of the alliance. “The USNAP specification is the industry’s leading solution to perform a hedge against obsolescence, and mitigate the risk faced with decisions regarding current and future communication protocols and standards.”

The USNAP Alliance is comprised of a number of companies, including: Alliant Energy, American Electric Power, Aztech Associates Inc., Bulogics, Celestica International Inc., CLECO Power, Coincident, Compucon Corp., Comverge Inc., Direct Energy, e-Radio, Entek Systems Inc., GainSpan Corp., GE Consumer-Industrial, Google, Gridglo, Intwine, Itron Inc., LS Research LLC, MicroChip, Murata-Sychip, Negawatt, Niagra-on-the-Lake Hydro Inc., NURI Telecom Co. Ltd., Our Home Spaces, Portland General Electric, Public Utility District #1 of Benton County, Radio Thermostat Company of America, Sensus Metering Systems, Sigma Designs, SmartLabs Inc., Steffes Corp., Synapse Wireless Inc., Teridian Semiconductor, Trilliant Networks Inc., and Tyco Electronics.

All interested parties can review and provide comments on the specification using the comment form available at

Publication date:07/12/2010