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Case Study: Power Utility Upgrades to Remote Connectivity

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North America and global utility customers rely on GarrettCom Magnum DX940e Routers for remote and secure connectivity

Customer

Belden worked with a power utility customer in North America who needed to expand their customer base by reaching new locations while maintaining compliance with security and safety standards.

In terms of expanding their reach, the customer was required to build various new remote stations.

They needed to connect these remote sites to the central office so that the Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) data could be transferred to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) master, and with the help of that data they could do asset monitoring, billing and troubleshooting.

Power Utility Company Connects Remote Locations

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Discovery

No fiber was laid out to connect to the central office, and due to budget constraints, laying new fiber was not a viable solution. Many areas were also not connected over the legacy leased line interfaces such as T1 or DDS.

In multiple other sites, the customer was using T1  and the service provider was supporting it with TDM/ SONET. The move in carrier technology from TDM to MPLS meant a lot of changes on the compliance side since it required a move to IP. This move caused all the power utilities using T1 to come under the purview of NERC CIP.

Also, with introduction of IP, there was a need for additional security for remote locations to prevent unauthorized access to the sensitive data.

Secure Remote Access

Power Utility Secure Remote Access

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Solution

The customer was looking for a cost-effective, holistic solution to connect its remote locations, connect legacy devices and comply with NERC CIP standards and network security.

  1. GarrettCom’s Magnum DX940e provided the 4G/Cellular WAN interface for remote connectivity and also acted as a remote terminal server to interface with equipment connected to the serial ports.
  2. It also provided the relevant security features and policies needed for NERC CIP compliance. Magnum DX940e offers Layer 3 stateful firewall and IPSec-VPN with 3DES/ AES256 encryption that are part of its requirements.
    • Magnum DX940e comes with a packet firewall that added layer of access security to all the IP interfaces
    • VPN on DX940e enabled encryption of data across WAN and Ethernet interfaces
  3. Magnum DX940e is designed to be used in ruggedized and harsh environments and is certified to power substation approvals such as IEEE1613 and IEC 61850-3.
  4. Magnum DX940e offers Graphical User Interface (GUI) based MNS-DX or MNS-SECURE software to enable network management and monitoring.
DX940e Secure Remote Access

Belden provided a scalable network management solution, Industrial HiVision, which allows multiple devices to be configured, monitored and managed through a single console. Multiple Magnum DX940e devices can be controlled through Industrial HiVision that supports user upload and download configuration rules, upload software upgrades, user policy management and ensures security settings on each device.

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Results

 

 

DX940e Secure Power Utility

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Lower Costs, Improved Efficiency

The customer achieved efficient substation automation for secure metering, data collection, monitoring and control of substation equipment, reducing costs and improving workflow.

Industrial Equipment, Securely Managed

Supporting harsh environments and compliant with many industrial standards and certifications, GarrettCom equipment can be centrally managed and remotely accessed, and protects substation equipment against cyber threats. This saves hours of time that would have been spent driving out to remote locations to track configurations, troubleshoot or make manual adjustments to spreadsheets. Capabilities include firewall, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption and Virtual Private Network (VPN) for secure remote access connectivity. Also provides access control with multi-level password protection.

Flexibility for IP Migration

Legacy and serial communications can be more flexibly migrated to IP communications using GarrettCom networking equipment. This allows customers to control pace of adoption and migration. GarrettCom can also enable utilities more flexibility in designing customer services, maintenance and pricing.

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