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This paper introduces an architecture for computer communications applied to the operation and maintenance of power systems, the distributed real-time computer network architecture (DRNA). The architecture consists of four functional entities, namely, application programs associated with information models, an adaptation function, a transport function, and network- and security-management functions to achieve seamless, real-time, adaptive, and secure information exchange between distributed power system control devices. DRNA uses off-the-shelf and standardized technologies along with dedicated ones. Through careful application of the technology, an experimental setup of a distributed cooperative voltage-control network was constructed in a power system simulator to verify the architectural concept. The implemented technologies include mobile agents, middleware for prioritized and redundant communication schemes, label-switched and Ethernet-based transport networks, and a secure virtual private network. The experiment demonstrated the effectiveness of DRNA.