Japanese Consortium Accepts IEEE 802.21™ for ECHONET Lite Home Networking Specification

The ECHONET Consortium and IEEE have announced a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to utilize IEEE 802.21™ in the ongoing development of the ECHONET Lite specification, a protocol compatible with ubiquitous Internet connectivity. In Japan, the ECHONET Lite specification is already compatible with more than a hundred types of multi-vendor devices, and is also being adopted by manufacturers of the smart electric energy meters that will be installed in all future Japanese households.

The ECHONET consortium was established in 1997 to expand the market of home networking devices by standardizing the technology and assuring its interoperability. As of 2016, the consortium is made up of more than 160 companies across the industry and over 25 universities and research institutions. The MOU with IEEE defines areas of collaborative effort with ECHONET Consortium’s ECHONET System Architecture Working Group as it pertains to device communication protocols and security, technical contributions and other areas of mutual interest.

The advancement of Smart Grid and Smart Home technologies continues to drive an ever-increasing need for standardization in secure, multicast communication. In 2015 July, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) released IEEE 802.21d™ to provide a proven and reliable solution for semiconductor, network equipment, and smart device manufacturers, as well as service providers. In line with the ECHONET Consortium goals, and the application of the ECHONET Lite specification, IEEE 802.21d supports secure Multicast Group Management capability applicable to Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) networks, where thousands of nodes require periodic configuration update, handover, and re-keying in failover and failback scenarios. The standard also supports home networking reliant on secure signaling and keying of a growing number of connected devices, as well as to service providers and operators by providing a means for secure and efficient device configuration and management.

“As part of efforts to expand the global utilization of IEEE standards, our collaborative MoU with ECHONET solidifies IEEE 802.21 as an elemental component in its ECHONET Lite specification,” said Dr. Subir Das, chair, IEEE 802.21 Working Group. “Because the IEEE 802.21d framework streamlines secure multicast communications and provides cost savings over proprietary solutions, the numerous manufacturers and suppliers utilizing the ECHONET Lite specification will benefit and help drive further utilization of IEEE 802.21 both in Japan and the larger global markets they serve.”

In Japan, the ECHONET Consortium is improving standards and actively participating in national projects as part of a systematic approach to integrate many devices and systems. The ECHONET System Architecture Working Group is helping to create a next-generation home networking system, while also promoting activities to support the global development of home networks.

“ECHONET Lite addresses a growing demand for air-conditioning, lighting and other equipment inside the home to be controlled using smartphones or controllers, and for electricity usage to be monitored in order to avoid wasting energy. By applying IEEE802.21 to ECHONET Lite, multi-vendor, interoperable and reliable systems can be realized that are expected to be deployed globally,” said Mr. Kenji Shiraishi, the representative Director of ECHONET Consortium. “Signing the MoU with IEEE brings the proven capabilities of the IEEE 802.21 standard adapted to ECHONET Lite, helping establish a secure communication protocol that can be read by any manufacturer’s equipment, while also allowing ECHONET to participate more closely in standards development as we move towards a greater connected world.”

Learn more about IEEE 802.21.

Learn more about ECHONET Consortium.

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