The home area network (HAN) refers to the ecosystem of devices within the home that are connected to the smart grid through a smart meter, through a home energy gateway, or directly in some cases. Some examples of these devices are in-home displays (IHDs) for power-consumption monitoring (see block diagram), smart appliances that respond to time-of-use pricing signals, smart thermostats that cycle the air conditioning in response to peak-load-reduction signaling from the utilities, or smart plugs that can monitor power consumption and control appliances.
Activities in the HAN can be broadly split into three categories: Measurement, communication and control. TI has comprehensive solutions to address each of these three categories. Measurement refers to the metrology or powermeasurement piece that is addressed by a suite of our solutions based on the MSP430™ microcontroller. Communications between the smart meter and devices can be via a wireless standard such as ZigBee®. Devices in the HAN might communicate with each other via power line communications (PLC), ZigBee or other wireless standards such as Wi-Fi®. TI has proven software and hardware solutions supporting each of these communication interfaces. The last piece of the HAN is controlling the components based on the measurement and communication. This can be done by using IHDs or via a web portal. It can also be done by sending signals directly to load controllers or smart plugs.
In-Home Display System
An IHD is essentially a display, portable or in a wall (for new homes), that can communicate with utility meters (electric, gas, water) and others communication enabled in-home appliances (using ZigBee, Wireless MBus for instance). When ZigBee enabled, it can be set up to act as a coordinator or router. Thanks to these communication features, it can receive custom real-time messages from the utility companies regarding billing, energy prices and more.