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As a key technology in smart grid, the wide-area measurement system (WAMS) will gradually become an important guarantee for security and stability of future power systems. This paper presents a quantified reliability evaluation method for the backbone communication network in WAMS and the overall WAMS from a hardware reliability viewpoint. The whole WAMS is modeled using a hierarchical structure. Markov modeling and state enumeration techniques are combined to perform the reliability evaluation. The WAMS in the IEEE 14-bus system is used as an example to demonstrate the application of the presented method in reliability assessment of overall WAMS.