Securing the Substation with Strategic Zones of Protection

Ethernet-based Strategy Can Provide Powerful Barrier

Smart grids collect a wealth of intelligence, beginning at the edge with Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) that collect valuable information such as fault location, relay targets, and customer usage in increasingly fine granularity which then is transmitted to the central control area to support the smart grid. Protective relays, meters, remote terminal units, LTC/regulator controllers, and predictive maintenance equipment also are becoming rich sources of data that can be made readily available to remote users. This new information requires increased communications bandwidth and a secure strategy for transporting the information to its destination points throughout the utility.

As power utility stakeholders address the challenges of creating end-to-end security for their smart grids, operations groups can benefit from a "Zones of Protection" strategy protection relay engineers have employed for some time to keep utility grids and equipment safe from fault and system unbalances.

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Cyber security is an important component of utility planning. It is complex, but not insurmountable. With careful planning and employee education, Ethernet-based Zones of Protection can provide a powerful barrier against externally or internally driven cyber-attack while still offering the power and flexibility to transport the data volume smart grid applications demand.
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