Advances in remote communications have improved the quality and reliability of power distribution infrastructure. Embracing these innovations, utilities have created intelligent substations based on high-capacity 4G LTE, rugged sensors and ethernet switches and intelligent grid hardware such as RTUs, advanced meters and reclosers. The intelligent substation allows utilities to: respond to changing loads, manage brownout and blackouts or even contain grid-wide collapse events with real-time remote monitoring and controls.
A large European utility decided to embrace these advances in smart-grid technology, but to build the smart-grid they faced real challenges: they needed to connect thousands of primary substations and hundreds of thousands of secondary substations to a smart-grid data center. This would require remote field communications devices that would fit the needs of their project with industrial wireless 3G or 4G networking.
In this project, the customer faced the following requirements:
Remote GOOSE Messaging routing between substations,
- Multiple Ethernet ports and two serial ports for multiple field devices,
- 4G LTE backup to a Ethernet primary connection,
- IEC 101 to IEC 104 conversion to support communication between serial field devices and the data center operating with Ethernet.
Featuring five Ethernet ports and two serial ports, 4G LTE and a robust industrial design, the InRouter915 exceeds the customer’s requirements. Multiple field RTU devices can connect to the InRouter 915's Ethernet ports to provide the network connection to the remote data center for remote data acquisition and controls. To provide intercommunication between smart-meters and the electronic counters (AMM) the IR915 creates a virtual serial network between the router's serial port by converting the serial data to Ethernet and routing the data over a secure encrypted tunnel.
The most demanding and significant of the requirements is GOOSE messaging communication between the secondary and primary substations. Utilizing low-latency 4G LTE and L2TPv3 tunneling, the InRouter915 provides a virtual local network to simulate a local Ethernet connection.