This blog will provide insights on the available data protocols in AMI systems used to communicate with reading software, monitoring systems, and Head-End solutions. I want you to know these protocols may vary depending on specific utility requirements and country terms, and conditions.

List of protocols, an AMI solution engineer should be familiar with, including:

  • ANSI C12.18
  • MQTT
  • CoAP
  • Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP)
  • XMPP
  • WebSocket
Data Protocol by Communication


DLMS/COSEM is a widely adopted standard for communication protocols in the field of smart metering and energy management systems. It defines a set of rules and procedures for exchanging data between energy meters and data collection systems.

DLMS/COSEM provides a comprehensive framework for metering devices, enabling interoperability and compatibility between different manufacturers and utility companies. It allows for efficient and secure communication, ensuring accurate and reliable data collection for billing, monitoring, and managing energy consumption.

To know more about DLMS/COSEM Click Here

More About DLMS:

  • Utility companies can easily integrate various metering devices into their infrastructure, regardless of the manufacturer, and efficiently manage energy consumption data by adopting the DLMS/COSEM standard.
  • This protocol enables better monitoring, analysis, and control of energy resources, leading to improved efficiency, cost savings, and more sustainable energy management practices.

2. ANSI C12.18

ANSI C12.18 is a standard developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that specifically focuses on communication protocols for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems.

  • ANSI C12.18 defines the requirements and guidelines for the data exchange between utility meters and data collection systems.
  • The primary goal of ANSI C12.18 is to ensure interoperability and compatibility between different metering devices and data management systems.

It establishes a standardized framework for communication, enabling seamless integration and efficient data retrieval from meters.

More About ANSI C12.18:

  • Communication Protocol: The standard specifies a protocol for the exchange of data between meters and data collection systems. It outlines the structure, syntax, and format of messages, ensuring consistency and compatibility across different devices and vendors.
  • Data Encoding: ANSI C12.18 defines the encoding scheme for representing data, such as meter readings, timestamps, and billing information. It ensures that the data is accurately and consistently transmitted and interpreted by both the meter and the data collection system.
  • Data Security: The standard addresses security concerns related to data transmission and access. It includes provisions for authentication, encryption, and access control to protect the integrity and privacy of metering data.
  • Metering Functionality: ANSI C12.18 specifies the metering functionality and data attributes that need to be supported by compliant meters. This includes measurements of energy consumption, power quality parameters, demand calculations, and other relevant information.
  • Interoperability: The standard emphasizes interoperability between different vendors’ equipment. It provides guidelines for standardizing data models, data structures, and communication interfaces, facilitating seamless integration and data exchange across diverse systems.
  • Compliance Testing: ANSI C12.18 also defines the procedures and criteria for compliance testing to ensure that meters adhere to the standard’s requirements. This helps guarantee that the meters meet the specified communication and data exchange capabilities.

By conforming to ANSI C12.18, utility companies, and meter manufacturers can ensure that their metering devices are compatible with a wide range of data collection systems. This promotes efficient data management, accurate billing, and effective monitoring of energy consumption, contributing to improved resource management and operational efficiency in the utility industry.


MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) is a lightweight publish-subscribe messaging protocol designed for efficient communication between devices in constrained environments, such as low bandwidth networks or devices with limited processing capabilities. It is widely used in the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.

More About MQTT protocol:

  • Publish-Subscribe Model: MQTT follows a publish-subscribe messaging pattern, where devices can act as publishers by sending messages to specific topics, and other devices can subscribe to those topics to receive the messages. This decoupled model allows for flexible and scalable communication between multiple devices.
  • Lightweight and Efficient: MQTT is designed to be lightweight, minimizing network bandwidth and resource usage. The protocol uses a small message header and binary payload, which reduces the data size and improves transmission efficiency, making it suitable for low-power devices and networks with limited resources.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): MQTT provides different levels of QoS to ensure reliable message delivery. It offers three QoS levels: QoS 0 (at most once), QoS 1 (at least once), and QoS 2 (exactly once). The level of QoS can be chosen based on the reliability and delivery requirements of the application.
  • Persistent Session: MQTT supports persistent sessions, allowing clients to establish long-lived connections with the broker. This enables the broker to retain the client’s subscription information and queued messages even when the client is offline.
  • Last Will and Testament (LWT): MQTT provides an LWT feature that allows a client to specify a message that will be published by the broker if the client unexpectedly disconnects. This feature is useful for detecting and handling unexpected device failures or network disconnections.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: MQTT supports a hierarchical topic structure that enables efficient filtering and routing of messages. This structure allows devices to subscribe to specific topics or topic patterns, facilitating targeted message delivery and reducing network congestion.
  • Security: MQTT can be implemented with security measures such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption and authentication mechanisms to ensure secure communication and prevent unauthorized access to the MQTT broker.

MQTT’s lightweight nature, efficient messaging model, and support for constrained environments make it a popular choice for IoT and M2M applications.

It enables reliable and scalable communication between devices, facilitating real-time data exchange, remote control, and monitoring in a wide range of industries, including home automation, smart cities, industrial automation, and more.

4. CoAP

CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) is a lightweight application-layer protocol designed for resource-constrained devices and networks in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is specifically developed to provide efficient communication between IoT devices with limited resources, such as low-power sensors, actuators, and microcontrollers.

More About CoAP protocol:

  • Lightweight: CoAP is designed to be lightweight, minimizing protocol overhead and resource usage. It uses a simple binary header format and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) as the underlying transport protocol, reducing the communication overhead and conserving network bandwidth and device resources.
  • RESTful Architecture: CoAP follows the principles of Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture, which enables resource-oriented communication over the web. CoAP resources are identified by unique Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), and standard HTTP-like methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE, are used to interact with these resources.
  • Request-Response Model: CoAP utilizes a request-response communication model, similar to HTTP. Clients can send CoAP requests to servers to retrieve or modify resources. Servers respond to these requests with CoAP messages containing the requested data or indicating the status of the operation.
  • Low Power and Lossy Networks (LLNs) Support: CoAP is well-suited for low-power and lossy networks, such as wireless sensor networks, where devices may have limited battery power and experience frequent network disruptions. CoAP includes mechanisms for congestion control, multicast support, and asynchronous messaging to optimize communication in such challenging network environments.
  • Resource Observation: CoAP supports the observation of resources, allowing clients to register their interest in particular resources and receive notifications when those resources change. This enables efficient real-time data monitoring and event-driven applications in the IoT.
  • CoAP over DTLS: To provide security for CoAP communication, the protocol can be used over Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), which is a secure version of UDP. This allows for secure end-to-end communication and protection against unauthorized access and data tampering.
  • Proxy and Caching Support: CoAP supports the use of proxies and caches, which can improve scalability and performance by reducing the load on servers and enabling local caching of frequently accessed resources.

CoAP is widely used in various IoT applications, including smart homes, industrial automation, healthcare monitoring, and environmental monitoring. Its lightweight nature, support for constrained devices, and integration with web technologies make it a suitable protocol for resource-constrained IoT deployments, enabling efficient and scalable communication between devices and applications in constrained networks.

5. Open Smart Grid Protocol

The Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP) is a widely adopted standard for smart grid communications and management systems. It provides a secure and interoperable framework for exchanging information between various components of smart grid infrastructure, such as smart meters, distribution automation devices, and energy management systems.

More About OSGP:

  • Communication Protocol: OSGP defines a communication protocol that allows devices in the smart grid ecosystem to exchange data and control commands. It specifies the message format, addressing schemes, and communication procedures to ensure reliable and efficient communication.
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): OSGP supports advanced metering infrastructure by enabling bidirectional communication between smart meters and utility companies. It allows for remote meter reading, real-time monitoring of energy consumption, and the ability to remotely control and manage metering devices.
  • Security and Privacy: OSGP incorporates robust security mechanisms to protect smart grid communication. It includes features such as encryption, authentication, access control, and data integrity checks to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted over the network.
  • Demand Response and Load Management: OSGP facilitates demand response programs by enabling utilities to send signals and control commands to smart meters, allowing for load shedding or load shifting during peak demand periods. It supports load management strategies and helps optimize energy usage in response to grid conditions.
  • Device Management: OSGP includes features for device management, allowing utilities to remotely configure, update, and diagnose smart grid devices. It enables firmware upgrades, performance monitoring, and fault detection, leading to improved operational efficiency and reduced maintenance costs.
  • Scalability and Interoperability: OSGP promotes scalability and interoperability by providing standardized interfaces and protocols. It allows devices from different vendors to seamlessly integrate into the smart grid infrastructure, reducing deployment complexities and ensuring compatibility between different components.
  • Open Standards and Collaborative Development: OSGP follows an open standards approach, encouraging collaboration and innovation among stakeholders. It allows for the development of compatible devices and software solutions from multiple vendors, fostering a competitive and diverse smart grid ecosystem.

OSGP has been widely adopted by utilities, energy companies, and smart grid solution providers around the world. By leveraging the capabilities of OSGP, organizations can enhance their smart grid infrastructure, optimize energy management, improve grid reliability, and enable more efficient use of resources.


XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open standard communication protocol based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML). It is designed for real-time exchange of messages and presence information between entities over a network.

More About XMPP:

  • Instant Messaging: XMPP is primarily known for its instant messaging capabilities. It enables real-time exchange of messages between individuals or groups, supporting features such as text, file transfer, and presence updates (indicating online/offline status).
  • Decentralized and Federated Architecture: XMPP follows a decentralized architecture, allowing users to communicate across different servers and domains. It supports federation, meaning that users on one XMPP server can interact with users on other servers seamlessly, enabling a global network of interconnected communication.
  • Presence Information: XMPP provides presence functionality, allowing users to share their availability status, including online, offline, away, or busy. This presence information helps users determine the availability of their contacts and facilitates real-time communication.
  • Extensibility: XMPP is highly extensible, allowing the development of additional features and functionalities. It supports the use of XML-based extensions called XMPP Extensions (XEPs) to add new capabilities to the protocol. This extensibility contributes to the flexibility and adaptability of XMPP in various applications and use cases.
  • Security: XMPP supports secure communication through Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, ensuring confidentiality and integrity of data transmission. Additionally, XMPP provides mechanisms for authentication and authorization, enabling secure user authentication and access control.
  • Wide Range of Applications: While XMPP is commonly associated with instant messaging, it has been widely adopted in various applications beyond traditional chat systems. It is used in collaborative environments, social networking, Internet of Things (IoT) communication, Voice over IP (VoIP), and other real-time communication scenarios.
  • Open Standard and Community-Driven: XMPP is an open standard maintained by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF). The protocol is governed by an open and collaborative community, allowing for continuous improvement and development of the specification.

XMPP is widely implemented in numerous messaging applications, including popular instant messaging platforms and collaboration tools. Its open nature, decentralization, and extensibility make it a versatile protocol for real-time communication and enable interoperability between different systems and services.

7. WebSocket

The WebSocket protocol is a communication protocol that provides full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection. It enables real-time, bidirectional communication between web browsers (clients) and web servers, allowing for interactive and dynamic web applications.

More About WebSocket protocol:

  • Full-Duplex Communication: Unlike traditional HTTP, which follows a request-response model, WebSocket allows simultaneous, bidirectional communication between the client and the server. Both the client and the server can send and receive messages independently without waiting for a request from the other party.
  • Persistent Connection: WebSocket establishes a persistent connection between the client and the server. Once the connection is established, it remains open until explicitly closed, enabling efficient and low-latency communication. This eliminates the need for frequent connection establishment and teardown, reducing overhead and improving performance.
  • Lightweight Header: WebSocket uses a lightweight header compared to traditional HTTP, resulting in less data overhead during communication. The smaller header size reduces network traffic and improves efficiency, making it suitable for real-time applications.
  • Cross-Domain Support: WebSocket supports cross-domain communication, allowing web applications to establish connections with servers from different domains. This enables the integration of services and data from multiple sources, enhancing the flexibility and capabilities of web applications.
  • Security: WebSocket connections can be secured using the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, providing encryption and data integrity. This ensures secure communication and protects against unauthorized access or tampering of data transmitted over the WebSocket connection.
  • Protocol Upgrade: WebSocket leverages an initial HTTP handshake for establishing the connection. During this handshake, the client and server negotiate and upgrade the connection to the WebSocket protocol. This handshake enables WebSocket to work over standard HTTP ports, simplifying firewall traversal and ensuring compatibility with existing infrastructure.
  • Support for Web Application APIs: WebSocket is supported by modern web browsers and provides a JavaScript API that simplifies client-side implementation. This API allows developers to easily create interactive and real-time web applications that can push updates and receive notifications from the server without the need for frequent page refreshing.

WebSocket has gained significant popularity and is widely used in applications requiring real-time communication, such as chat applications, collaborative tools, real-time gaming, and financial applications. Its efficient and bidirectional communication capabilities enable developers to create highly interactive and responsive web experiences, enhancing user engagement and productivity.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article was worth reading for you. If you liked it, please consider following me for more content on metering and electrical systems. I regularly post new articles on smart metering-related topics, and I would love to have you as a part of my connection. Cheers!!

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Rahul Verma

17+ years of experience in software development, IoT, telecom, banking, finance, embedded systems, data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence with multiple market leaders worldwide. I hope you found this blog post informative and helpful. Cheers!


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