Communications for Wide-Area
Real-Time System Protection and
June 7, 2012
Copyright © SEL 2012
• Utilities need
their core business.
• All of the common
types are used.
• The culture of the
utility has changed
to keep up with the
The Digital Divide
In the beginning….
• In 1980: Graduated with a BSEE in
“Information Engineering”. Hired by
ComEd’s Computer department.
• ComEd Power System Protection – Analysis
• For 30 years I had the opportunity to work on
every form of communications that the
company has. “DC to Light”. Tubes,
Transistors, Integrated Circuits,
The Organization 1980
• Office Systems.
• Computer Systems.
• Nuclear: Emergency Preparedness.
• System Protection.
• No overarching “steering committee”.
• The first fiber installation.
• Fiber used for System Protection.
• IT uses fiber for networking.
• Analog becomes digital.
• Point to point becomes networked.
• The full effect of Telco divesture hits the
1990’s The Organization Changes
• Corporate Telecommunications Department
(C-TEL). Information Technology (IT).
• Protection departments move expertise to
• Major growth in fiber. Refresh of Analog
• Digital channels are used for protection.
C-TEL has issues…
• Downsizing, retirements, attrition.
• Succession planning did not keep up.
• Reliability starts to suffer. Attributed to
• Microwave, phone circuits, 2-way and DA
radio go to Protection Engineering.
Toys for Technology
• Microprocessor relays improve protection.
• Digital Fault Recorders (DFR’s) and Relays
with fault recording allow analysis.
• Communication becomes more reliable.
• Time synchronization for data (seconds).
• Reliability improves.
Get out of the way; Digital is coming
• Industry was moving to digital
communication in the substation.
• Must be as good or better than today.
• A GOOSE is born.
• The IT and Protection people start to speak
the same language. Translation still
necessary. Communication GAPS exist.
• Smart Grid: The old becomes new.
• What are the services needed?
• What are the security requirements?
• What level of reliability is needed?
• What latency is required?
• What are the environmental requirements?
• What are the operational requirements?
Requirements vs. Desirements
Shared Infrastructure design options
• Go with the most bang for the buck. Most
requirements will be met.
• Design for the most stringent requirements
that you have. All requirements will be met
• Mixed design using the “highest common
denominator” for each section of the
network. All requirements will be met where
they need to be met.
The Split Tree Network
Split Tree vs “to each their own”
• Sharing can be a challenge.
• Users have to work together.
• Cost sharing methodology.
• Cost recovery
• Other costs: Upgrades and Refresh.
• Operating: firmware, planed outages.
Virtual Nested Rings
Keys to Success
• Formal collection of requirements
• How will the network be used
What do need today.
Dreaming is good. But……
Nail down the scope before you start.
Keys to Success
• Give presentations. Share, justify, solicit
• Involve stakeholders. They are part of the
• Rotate personnel. Succession plan.
Keys to Success
• Training Classes
• Progress Reports
• Determine the accounting and
• Standards Organizations.