Last month, we introduced how the Smart Grid has provided an opportunity for power utilities to rethink their operating strategies and come up with innovative ways to integrate the new and the old in order to position themselves for the future. We then described the first two lessons that can be applied to any industrial networking system: Plan for scalable bandwidth to handle the steadily increasing demand for data AND Explore heavier-duty switches and routers to support expanding demands for more equipment attachments.

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But, Smart Grid network implementations have many more lessons for all industrial networks:

Expect to integrate wireless communications for simple, costeffective data links to remote sites

Distributed alternative power generation resources, as well as the need for twoway communications at users' meters, often require wireless connectivity support.   

Upgrade to equipment with precision timing features to enable synchronized data management and control actions

In the case of a security incident, it is necessary to ensure that the time stamps on data from various cameras and intrusion detection devices are synchronized to a universal clock to ensure that accurate sequencing of events can be tracked.

Know how to integrate serial equipment into your complex IP network – it's not going away any time soon

Terminal servers and routers should support both Ethernet and serial.

Download out "Cyber Security For Dummies" White paper

Choose switches with flexible port configurations to easily integrate various types of new and existing equipment

Modular technologies that support the mixing and matching of blocks of ports on individual switches and routers provide cos teffective and easy to deploy alternatives to fixed port boxes.  

Integrate a strategy for cyber security as well as physical security to keep control networks safe

Firewalls, port access control, password health and authentication, encryption, VPNs, and employee training are some of the key components.

Bring corporate IT into data management as a partner

It is more important than ever to work with corporate IT as a partner rather than as an adversary.    

Understand that developing an outstanding industrial network is a work in process, not a onetime event

Here, progress is measured in increments … it's rarely feasible to overhaul the entire plant system in one fell swoop.

If you're interested in learning more, download our free white paper, 9 lessons learned from Smart Grid Implementations.