Distribution networks are undergoing major changes to accommodate and adapt to the new functionalities required to support smart grid infrastructure. Data communication between interoperable smart grid components will be critical in most cases as the network operators will have to act promptly to effectively operate medium and low voltage networks. Millions of smart meters and intelligent electronic devices connected to this network generate vast amounts of raw data, and relate information that will have to be transmitted to the control centre using an efficient information and communication infrastructure. Data volume reduction at different nodes in the network should be effectively carried out to maximize the utilization of existing communication resources. This introduces important challenges to the distribution network operators, as they will need cost-effective high performance information and communication solutions. In this paper we introduce InfoBridge - a high speed messaging layer that has been developed and analyzed as part of the EU-funded FP7 project entitled HiPerDNO. InfoBridge supports both point-to-point and publish/subscribe communications and provides a near to real-time high performance data transfer solution with QoS guarantees, thus offering an efficient messaging infrastructure for different applications with regard to distribution network operation. We provide a high-level description of this layer, and present a thorough performance evaluation and analysis of the alpha version of InfoBridge. © 2012 IEEE.