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Next-generation power substation communication networks: IEC 61850 meets programmable networks

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posted on 2023-03-02, 03:17 authored by Sergio GutierrezSergio Gutierrez, Juan Felipe Botero, Natalia Gaviria, Luis Alejandro Fletscher, Erwin Alexander Leal

The electrical grid undergoes a fundamental change with the introduction of the Smart Grid; in particular, power substations have been evolving towards automated systems. Power substation communication networks evolved from legacy infrastructures mostly formed by serial devices to Ethernet-based digital communications networks, thanks to the introduction of the IEC 61850 standard. However, this evolution inherited the shortcomings of the traditional decentralized network management. This paper explores the upcoming evolution of IEC 61850 when it meets the ground-breaking programmable network technologies: Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Programmable Data Planes (PDP). Here, we describe how recent proposals leverage SDN to improve network management tasks such as topology discovery, multicast traffic management, QoS provisioning, among others in IEC 61850 based systems. We also outline potential improvements to critical network management tasks in power substations using PDP features such as in-band network telemetry. Finally, we discuss different challenges in the management of the communication network of Smart Power Substations and how they can be addressed with the implementation of programmable networks


Security in communication netwoRks Of Next Generation based on SDN and NFV (Project 519RT0580)

General System of Royalties from Colombia (BPIN code 2020000100381).


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Universidad de Antioquia

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  • Colombia