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This paper proposes an advanced substation communication system for supporting the latest development in power system protection - integrated protection. Recent developments in power system protection are firstly outlined, and then a description of a substation integrated protection system supported by an advanced communication network is given. Based on the proposal, there are 3 major components within the network: the CVD communication unit; the optical network; and the central integrated protection unit. The research will focus on the concept, evaluation and design of the optical network communication system.