Analyzing the HAN Firmware
Maintenance Problem

November 2009

Marcia Martin
  Director, Systems Engineering & Smart Energ...
Problem Statement
Providing the ability to remotely upgrade Home Area
Networks (HANs) is a CRITICAL NEED for the Smart Gri...
What is a Home Area Network (HAN)?
 Low-cost, in-home network of intelligent devices
 Usually wireless, mesh architecture
...
What’s in an Energy-management HAN?
 Smart Meter (advanced metering infrastructure)
 Programmable Thermostat
 In-home Disp...
HAN Connectivity Options
                                          Advanced
                                           Met...
Gateways to the HAN                  RF
                                     Mesh or
                        ZigBee
      ...
The Bigger Network Picture
                                                 Advanced
                                     ...
Observations
 Two or three potential data paths from HAN to ESP
 • AMI infrastructure (safest, least cost solution)
 • HAN...
Why HANs Need Software Distribution
 Security Breaches
 • Protect Consumer Privacy
 • Protect the Grid
 Support for New Fe...
You think it won’t happen?
 2005 – Toyota recalls 75,000 Prius hybrids for a firmware
 defect
 2004 – Pontiac recalls Gran...
Some Wireless AMI Network Options
 RF Mesh (42% of Utilities in the US favor)
 •   Itron
 •   Landis+Gyr
 •   Elster
 •   ...
Power Line Networking
 Popular in Europe
 100% connectivity to meters
 High bandwidth (comparable to broadband)
 Downsides...
Magnitude of the HAN Upgrade Problem
Example: ONCOR, Texas
 700,000 Landis+Gyr Smart Meters by year end 2009
 3 Million Me...
How Much Data Must Move?
 Assume:
 • 32k average firmware load per HAN device
 • 6 devices per HAN
 • 3 Million Households...
Bandwidth Bottlenecks
Network          Top Data Rate    Households per Approximate
Technology       (Bandwidth)      Band ...
Bottleneck Analysis Takeaways
 The ZigBee distribution time for one household is
 acceptable.
 Firmware updates don’t pose...
Is the AMI Infrastructure Good Enough?
   “Normal” load on AMI Mesh
    •   60KB/meter/day = about 1 character per second ...
Mesh Behavior of the AMI
 Every meter acts as a repeater for adjacent meters
 Not a problem for broadcasts
 Connection-ori...
Mesh Behavior
  This connection stream pattern stresses the mesh




These repeaters
 have too much
    work to do!




  ...
Mesh Behavior
 This connection stream pattern doesn’t
 Each connection has own path from concentrator to meter




       ...
How long to update all 3 Million HANs?
 One household at a time, 3333 days or ~9 years.
 If all households were updated si...
NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009 Standard
 Establishes requirements for updating smart meter
 firmware over the AMI.
 • HAN gateway comp...
Meter Upgrade Broadcast Scenario
1. Broadcast Meter Upgrade out of 1st Neighborhood Area
      Concentrator (up to 5000 ho...
How long to upgrade 3 million meters?
 2 hours for initial 1-zone trial.
 Double zones involved for second round.
 Double ...
Why is a HAN upgrade different?
 Feature upgrade to a single HAN device is not different,
 providing:
 • The upgrade does ...
Additional Requirements for Upgrading HANS

 HAN devices should adopt many of the meter requirements
 described in NEMA SG...
Conclusions
 Upgrades to single device types are manageable via
 broadcast techniques even over least-capable AMI
 network...
Process Requirements
 So far, we’ve discussed only physical connectivity
 Firmware publication process:
 •   Establishing ...
State of the Art (in the field)
 Most HAN device vendors offer some sort of network
 distribution for updating device firm...
Who owns the problem?
 Possible candidates:
 •   Consumers
 •   Device Vendors                                  “The Consu...
Thank you for your time and attention!

                         Any questions?


                     Want to know more?
...
Image Credits
 Itron Centerpoint Smart Meter: www.centerpoint.com.

 Comverge in-home display. www.comverge.com.

 ecobee™...
About the Author
Marcia Martin is the Director of Systems Engineering – Smart Energy, for
Magpie, a specialty software ser...
About Magpie
When Your Business Depends On Software™

Magpie is a valued partner in delivering engineered software that wo...
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Microsoft Power Point Analysing The Han Firmware Maintenance Problem

  1. 1. Analyzing the HAN Firmware Maintenance Problem November 2009 Marcia Martin Director, Systems Engineering & Smart Energy Practice 303–453–8323 marcia@magpieti.com Roxanna Podlogar Vice President of Sales & Marketing 303–453–8380 roxy@magpieti.com 12050 N. Pecos Street, Suite 210 Denver, CO 80234 www.MagpieTI.com
  2. 2. Problem Statement Providing the ability to remotely upgrade Home Area Networks (HANs) is a CRITICAL NEED for the Smart Grid. Why? Utilities will use HANs to create 2-way communication with customers. HANs will reside in millions of households. Dispatching a utility truck to upgrade HAN firmware is cost-prohibitive. Failures or security breaches in the energy management infrastructure can threaten the energy grid itself. No consensus has been established as to how solve the problem. www.MagpieTI.com 2
  3. 3. What is a Home Area Network (HAN)? Low-cost, in-home network of intelligent devices Usually wireless, mesh architecture • ZigBee More about mesh • WiFi networks later on… Alternatives • HomePlug (a powerline mechanism) Devices have limited or absent user interfaces Usually no ability to access removable digital media Originally “toys” for controlling home video, audio, lights Now getting serious attention as a mechanism for managing home’s energy consumption in the Smart Grid. www.MagpieTI.com 3
  4. 4. What’s in an Energy-management HAN? Smart Meter (advanced metering infrastructure) Programmable Thermostat In-home Display DR-enabled smart plug Range Extender GE Smart Fridge RE HAN/Internet Gateway More… www.MagpieTI.com 4
  5. 5. HAN Connectivity Options Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) [Private Infrastructure; Proprietary Protocols] RE Internet Accesses utility portal but not HAN www.MagpieTI.com 5
  6. 6. Gateways to the HAN RF Mesh or ZigBee Cellular AMI Radio Radio HAN RE Backhaul to Internet Ethernet connection ZigBee to home Radio DSL or Cable Internet Modem www.MagpieTI.com 6
  7. 7. The Bigger Network Picture Advanced Metering Infrastructure [Private Infrastructure; Proprietary Protocols] Neighborhood Area Concentrator Utility Consumer Energy Cellular or Portal Services Fiber Provider (ESP) Backhaul Internet Public Utility www.MagpieTI.com 7
  8. 8. Observations Two or three potential data paths from HAN to ESP • AMI infrastructure (safest, least cost solution) • HAN/Internet specialized gateway device (not always present) • Internet-connected home computer (not typically part of the HAN) Network Services provided to the HAN • Data Collection (extension of AMI) • Demand Response signaling and opt-in/opt-out messaging • Consumer Rate Management Emerging model for Energy Management Services • Commercial Energy Service Providers (ESPs) partner with utilities • Utilities own the data collected by the ESPs • Consumers access data via Utility Internet Portal • Consumers access data via HAN-connected in-home display www.MagpieTI.com 8
  9. 9. Why HANs Need Software Distribution Security Breaches • Protect Consumer Privacy • Protect the Grid Support for New Features • Two-way communication between Consumer & Utility in its infancy • Demand Response • Time of Use Interoperability Issues • Consumer expects to be free to introduce devices from any source • Consumer will expect utility features to always work (!) Software defects • Inevitable www.MagpieTI.com 9
  10. 10. You think it won’t happen? 2005 – Toyota recalls 75,000 Prius hybrids for a firmware defect 2004 – Pontiac recalls Grand Prix because firmware failed to adjust for leap years 2002 – BMW 745i had fuel pump that would shut off when the tank became less than 1/3 full 2001 – 52,000 Jeeps recalled due to software defect that shut down the whole instrument panel – “Total Recall” Jack Ganssle, 2/6/2006 in embedded.com www.MagpieTI.com 10
  11. 11. Some Wireless AMI Network Options RF Mesh (42% of Utilities in the US favor) • Itron • Landis+Gyr • Elster • Silver Spring Networks (add-on) • Trilliant (add-on) Tower-based Communications • Sensus (7 million meters under contract) Cellular Networks • Favored in Europe – little US adoption so far, but… • Echelon • SmartSynch – Source: Advanced Metering, Jeff St. John, June 5, 2009 in greentechmedia.com, reporting on a survey of over 100 utilities by Atlanta- based energy research firm Chartwell. www.MagpieTI.com 11
  12. 12. Power Line Networking Popular in Europe 100% connectivity to meters High bandwidth (comparable to broadband) Downsides • Cost • Modulating power interferes with ham and emergency bands Italian model – short runs over power lines from meters to concentrators that are gateways onto internet infrastructure www.MagpieTI.com 12
  13. 13. Magnitude of the HAN Upgrade Problem Example: ONCOR, Texas 700,000 Landis+Gyr Smart Meters by year end 2009 3 Million Meters deployed by end of 2012 The Gridstream™ solution is compliant with ZigBee® Smart Energy Profile 1.0 On Sept. 14, 2009 Landis+Gyr announced a Program to certify HAN device interoperability with its AMI Solution at the SEP 1.0 level www.MagpieTI.com 13
  14. 14. How Much Data Must Move? Assume: • 32k average firmware load per HAN device • 6 devices per HAN • 3 Million Households in Utility Network Approximately 200k bytes to upgrade entire HAN Move 600 GB to upgrade all households in the Utility Where are the bottlenecks in the network? What are time interval requirements for upgrade? www.MagpieTI.com 14
  15. 15. Bandwidth Bottlenecks Network Top Data Rate Households per Approximate Technology (Bandwidth) Band Push Time ZigBee 250 Kbps 1 1-3 sec/device 25 KB/sec 8-20 sec/HAN DSL to 24 Mbps 1 .1 sec to laptop household (max download) or HAN 2.4 MB/sec gateway Neighborhood 100Mbps 5 to 5000 Area 10 MB/sec Concentrator (100 bT Enet) 900 Mhz 20 Kbps 5 to 5000 16 sec/device to RF Mesh 2 KB/sec depending on meter broadcast (cheapest AMI) technology or single thread www.MagpieTI.com 15
  16. 16. Bottleneck Analysis Takeaways The ZigBee distribution time for one household is acceptable. Firmware updates don’t pose a problem for internet- connected HANs. Direct-connect to internet for every HAN is expensive • Dedicated IP/ZigBee gateway $200-300 • USB ZigBee Dongle for home computer $60 – And, oops, computer can be turned off! • All homes have meters – not all homes have broadband. THE BIG QUESTION: Can the AMI network meet the firmware distribution requirements? www.MagpieTI.com 16
  17. 17. Is the AMI Infrastructure Good Enough? “Normal” load on AMI Mesh • 60KB/meter/day = about 1 character per second per household* • Or 5KB/sec per “neighborhood” • Actually this is typically concentrated in bursts on 15-minute intervals • Firmware distribution should not unduly disrupt this traffic, but • Many meters can store some interval data Two models for firmware distribution • Broadcast – All households receive same download – Houses that can’t use or don’t need the broadcast ignore it • Connection-oriented – Examples: HTTP or FTP download – “Conversation” between house meter and ESP’s NOC – Can be tailored to individual household’s device types & topology – Greater potential for stressing the mesh’s capacity * Implementing the Right Network for The Smart Grid. www.UtilitiesProject.com Raj Vaswani & Eric Dresselhuys, Sliver Spring Networks www.MagpieTI.com 17
  18. 18. Mesh Behavior of the AMI Every meter acts as a repeater for adjacent meters Not a problem for broadcasts Connection-oriented streams can overrun the mesh www.MagpieTI.com 18
  19. 19. Mesh Behavior This connection stream pattern stresses the mesh These repeaters have too much work to do! www.MagpieTI.com 19
  20. 20. Mesh Behavior This connection stream pattern doesn’t Each connection has own path from concentrator to meter www.MagpieTI.com 20
  21. 21. How long to update all 3 Million HANs? One household at a time, 3333 days or ~9 years. If all households were updated simultaneously by broadcast, about 2 minutes, assuming: • No load failures occurred • All households contained same 6 devices (or a subset thereof) • Neither assumption is realistic. What assumptions are realistic? • Would NOT broadcast to the whole service area all at the same time. – Too big a disruption if the broadcast code load were wrong. • Several rebroadcasts of each load will be needed, or • A fallback method is available to deal with individual home failures. • Interval between broadcasts allows for failure reports to come in. www.MagpieTI.com 21
  22. 22. NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009 Standard Establishes requirements for updating smart meter firmware over the AMI. • HAN gateway component shall be upgradeable independently from AMI network component. • Meter shall be able to store new code load while running off old code. • Meter shall be able to detect and signal load failures. • Meter shall defer booting new load until signaled to do so. • Meter shall be able to revert to old code load or enter a safe state. • Meter shall be able to authenticate trusted distribution sources. • Standards are established for secure encryption of transmissions. What NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009 does not do: • Define any actual protocol for transmitting firmware loads. • Prefer one distribution model over another. • Require interoperability among different vendors’ products. • Address the additional requirements and failure modes HANs introduce. www.MagpieTI.com 22
  23. 23. Meter Upgrade Broadcast Scenario 1. Broadcast Meter Upgrade out of 1st Neighborhood Area Concentrator (up to 5000 homes) 2. Wait 1 hour while compiling failure rate information. 3. Re-broadcast if there are any failures. 4. Determine how many homes are still not upgraded. 5. Assuming failure rate is acceptably low, repeat steps 1-4 for additional NAC areas until all zones are upgraded. 6. Use fallback update method on failed homes. 1. Root-cause analysis on failure patterns. 2. Connection oriented update attempts. 3. Truck rolls as appropriate. 7. Issue command for meters to deploy new firmware. www.MagpieTI.com 23
  24. 24. How long to upgrade 3 million meters? 2 hours for initial 1-zone trial. Double zones involved for second round. Double zones for each successful round subsequent. Assume 600-1000 zones total. (Each concentrator serves up to 5000 meters). Process would complete in 18-20 hours (2 * log2(1000)). This estimate excludes accounting for meters that failed to upgrade after repeated broadcast attempt. Depending on meter architecture and ESP’s firmware management architecture, 1 hour interval between broadcasts may be too short or too long. www.MagpieTI.com 24
  25. 25. Why is a HAN upgrade different? Feature upgrade to a single HAN device is not different, providing: • The upgrade does not affect the firmware load capability, • The upgrade does not affect the security model, • The upgrade does not affect the mesh networking logic. If one or more of the above provisions don’t hold, then usually all HAN devices, not just one, needs to be upgraded. Many HAN devices being deployed today lack the ability to store a firmware load and defer rebooting it into production. This could impose constraints on the upgrade order for devices in a whole-HAN upgrade. www.MagpieTI.com 25
  26. 26. Additional Requirements for Upgrading HANS HAN devices should adopt many of the meter requirements described in NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009: • Separately upgradeable “application” logic and network logic. • Ability to accept code load (securely delivered from trusted source) without deploying it until commanded. • Ability to alert when code load fails and/or respond to version query. • Ability to enter safe state (preferably still able to communicate) when an upgrade fails or hardware failure is detected during upgrade. HAN device topology and capabilities must be discoverable (example in ZigBee terms) • Is device endpoint, router, or controller capable? • Version of running & loaded network & application code • Distance (hops) from nearest router & controller. Ideally, load and deployment protocols are standard (a stronger requirement than NEMA placed on meters. www.MagpieTI.com 26
  27. 27. Conclusions Upgrades to single device types are manageable via broadcast techniques even over least-capable AMI networks. Tailored connection-oriented whole-HAN upgrades are practical only on HANs with broadband-class connectivity. A real-world emergency upgrade of an entire HAN- enabled service area including many heterogeneous devices is not practical over least-capable AMI networks. • “Emergency” defined as can be accomplished in one weekend. • Experience will tell whether this capability will be needed or not. • Deeper analysis of security and distribution failure modes is needed. • Broadcast-only distribution model falls down if HAN devices cannot accept a firmware load but defer deployment of it. www.MagpieTI.com 27
  28. 28. Process Requirements So far, we’ve discussed only physical connectivity Firmware publication process: • Establishing distribution repositories for binary images • Versioning and interoperability • Who is responsible for testing and certification? • Who controls and tracks distribution? Standard protocol for HAN devices to accept firmware loads (proposals before ZigBee Alliance now) HAN discovery (distributor must know all this stuff) • Device ID and Level for all devices • Topology (WAN connectivity, proximity to concentrator, and topology of HAN inside the house) • Distribution failure modes & remedies are a topic for another presentation! www.MagpieTI.com 28
  29. 29. State of the Art (in the field) Most HAN device vendors offer some sort of network distribution for updating device firmware • Control4 • Tendril • Gridpoint… and others, too No HAN firmware distribution standard is yet approved NEMA SG-AMI 1-2009 requirements for meters • Does not set protocol standard • Does not require interoperability among meter vendors • Only touches on the HAN problem Vendor solutions are therefore incompatible Existing ESP solutions limit the devices the utility supports • Support only one proprietary upgrade mechanism • No ESP deployments really old enough to test firmware distribution capability • Many do not handle intra-HAN dependencies www.MagpieTI.com 29
  30. 30. Who owns the problem? Possible candidates: • Consumers • Device Vendors “The Consumer cannot be permitted to own the • Retail Outlets (== consumers) process of upgrading the Energy Management HAN.” • ESP/Utility Partnership • Regulatory bodies --GridWeek 2009 Panel Session on Network Security Roles to fill • Set interoperability standards • Create and publish firmware updates • Interoperability and Replace-ability Testing • Publish interoperability results • Coordinate distribution to homes • Correct distribution failures www.MagpieTI.com 30
  31. 31. Thank you for your time and attention! Any questions? Want to know more? http://www.magpieti.com/whitepapers www.MagpieTI.com
  32. 32. Image Credits Itron Centerpoint Smart Meter: www.centerpoint.com. Comverge in-home display. www.comverge.com. ecobee™ smart thermostat. www.ecobee.com. Daintree MeshOperator Management Gateway. www.daintree.net. GE Smart Fridge, image from www.thatsthestuff.com. Electrical Outlet, image from www.mindrights.com. Sony VAIO notebook. www.sony.com. www.MagpieTI.com 32
  33. 33. About the Author Marcia Martin is the Director of Systems Engineering – Smart Energy, for Magpie, a specialty software services company in Denver, CO. With over 20 years of technology experience, Marcia has dedicated her career to innovating in emerging technology fields in the storage, telecom and health care domains. Her role in Magpie’s Smart Energy Practice is to transfer well-accepted technology principles, methodologies and tools that are recognized by communications, information technology, and related disciplines into the products of Smart Energy companies. Marcia holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Computer Science from Washington University's Sever Institute of Technology in St. Louis, MO. www.MagpieTI.com 33
  34. 34. About Magpie When Your Business Depends On Software™ Magpie is a valued partner in delivering engineered software that works™. The company specializes in solving tough technology problems for communication–enabled applications, business support systems, interactive Internet applications, and network protocol integration. The Magpie team is well known for its Agile, iterative, and open software development process. With customers spanning North America, Magpie has consistently delivered on–time, on–budget results for the telecom, health information, and emerging smart–grid energy industries. Magpie’s core expertise in the telecommunications arena has supported and enhanced Magpie’s growing Smart Energy practice, as companies innovating in Smart Energy continue to flourish and grow in Colorado’s Front Range tech corridor. We’re excited about this emerging field! The company warranties all its work and also has unique expertise in providing systems architecture, automated testing, systems integration, and technology consulting professional services. Make Magpie your choice when your business depends on software™. www.MagpieTI.com 34

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