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This paper presents a hardware test system developed at Florida International University capable of performing the operation of modern power system infrastructure. The purpose of this system is for research and educational applications. We will describe the design and construction of this test system as well as its implementation to simulate distributed control scheme. Some important elements of the system incorporate real life, flexible power system network hardware, data acquisition (DAQ) system and telecommunication industry standard technologies to deal with issues that could trigger cascaded failures. The research effort develops new techniques for local monitoring of a power system. The data obtained are then used to coordinate the distributed control operation of the power system. This technique enables system operators to locally detect and mitigate potential cascading events before spreading to other areas.