Ethernet Network Design Issues in the Substation

Sam Sciacca’s article for Consulting-Specifying Engineer (CSE), “Ethernet Network Design Issues in the Substation” addresses the trend toward greater use of Ethernet, which is an IEEE standard (IEEE 802.3) suite comprising the “seven layer model” in communications created by the ISO, or International Organization for Standardization.

Despite Ethernet’s apparent ubiquity, the CSE working on a substation will need to be aware of myriad issues in that application. Designing Ethernet for a substation includes taking into account a variety of functional and environmental factors. Design considerations for Ethernet include, for instance, the speed of various substation operations and the prioritization of messages – particularly if the Ethernet network is carrying protective relaying functions.

In this article, Sciacca addresses network configuration and management, the need to coordinate IT and OT (operations technology) decisions addressing protection and control systems, physical network media materials and access issues.

Pertinent standards discussed in the article include IEC 61850, IEEE 1613 and IEEE 1686.

Read this and other articles by Sam on his blog Insight on Power, published by CSE Magazine.

Sam Sciacca is an IEEE senior member and current chair of two IEEE working groups dealing with cyber-security for electric utilities: the Substations Working Group C1, which is working on P1686; and the Power System Relay Committee Working Group H13, which is working on PC37.240. Sciacca currently is CEO of SCS Consulting, LLC.