Communication networks play a critical role in smart grid, as the intelligence of smart grid is built based on information exchange across the power grid. In power transmission segments of smart grid, wired communications are usually adopted to ensure robustness of the backbone power network. In contrast, for a power distribution grid, wireless communications provide many benefits such as low cost high speed links, easy setup of connections among different devices/appliances, and so on. Connecting power equipment, devices, and appliances through wireless networks is indispensable for a smart distribution grid (SDG). However, wireless communications are usually more vulnerable to security attacks than wired ones. Developing appropriate wireless communication architecture and its security measures is extremely important for an SDG. Thus, these two problems are investigated in this paper. Firstly, a wireless communication architecture is proposed for an SDG based on wireless mesh networks (WMNs). The security framework under this communication architecture is then analyzed. More specifically, potential security attacks and possible counter-attack measures are studied. Within the security framework, a new intrusion detection and response scheme, called smart tracking firewall, is developed to meet the special requirements of SDG wireless communications. Performance results show that the smart tracking firewall can quickly detect and respond to security attacks and is thus suitable for real-time operation of an SDG.

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