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SCADA and IP: is network convergence really here?

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1 Author(s)
McClanahan ; Arkansas Electr. Cooperative Corp., Little Rock, AR, USA

This article has discussed improvements in cost/benefit and flexibility of both SCADA systems and corporate networks that can be achieved by combining the goals of the two onto a single, multipurpose network based on IP protocols. This allows the cost-justifications for these functions to taken collectively, making the combined networking project more economically viable. Among these cost/benefit and flexibility improvements are the following: The convergence of many types of services onto IP-based networks makes it possible to implement a single WAN that can meet most of a utility's network needs between remote offices, including SCADA. A combined SCADA/corporate network can serve as the long-haul portion of the SCADA network, allowing the SCADA-specific focus to be on last-mile connectivity to RTUs. Frame-relay networks can be a cost-effective way for utilities to connect to remote offices and substations. Improvements in RTU technology elevate RTUs from unintelligent devices to fully participating network nodes, allowing them to be more flexible in the information that is provided back to the SCADA master station.

Published in:

IEEE Industry Applications Magazine  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 2 )