MORGAN HILL, Calif. - The USNAP Alliance, an industry consortium of major stakeholders and utilities involved in the smart grid, has announced the release of its 2.0 specification for enabling interoperable home area network (HAN) deployment. According to the organization, manufacturers of smart grid devices (SGDs) such as appliances, thermostats, in-home displays, energy management systems, and gateways can use USNAP Communication Modules (UCMs) to connect to a HAN using a variety of connectivity options such as ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and FM radio, creating a universal HAN system.

The USNAP Alliance said its 2.0 specification represents a collaborative industry effort, building upon its 1.0 specification that serves as the basis for consumer and utility grade HAN solutions for managing energy conservation and demand via home, carrier, and utility networks. Authors of the new specification modeled it after two well-known computer industry standards, PCI and USB, to ensure the reliability and flexibility necessary to support the progression of the communication technology, said the alliance. The programmatic model provides developers with a flexible standard for developing applications serving a wide range of consumer products. The USNAP protocol uses the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) commonly found in most integrated circuits, making it compatible with the most popular communication chips and processors available in the market.

The revised USNAP specification supports the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile (SEP) 1.0 Specification, a common HAN standard found in millions of smart meters installed worldwide. The new command structure uses a “Get, Set and Send” concept providing a foundation for protocol-agnostic, multi-vendor compatibility. The revised USNAP specification also includes serial protocol enhancements for more efficient communication between the universal communications module and the smart grid device, as well as support for extended size USNAP Communication Modules.

“Release of the USNAP 2.0 specification will enable manufacturers and utilities to support HAN connectivity to the more than 50 million smart meters that are scheduled for deployment over the next five years,” said Jon Rappaport, chairman of the USNAP Alliance. “Uncertainty about communication standards has created a moving target for industry. The USNAP Alliance addresses this concern by providing a method for future proofing consumer products against technological change.”

For more information about the USNAP Alliance and the new specification, visit

Publication date:01/03/2011