Skip to Main Content
Smart grids heavily depend on communication in order to coordinate the generation, distribution, and consumption of energy-even more so if distributed power plants based on renewable energies are taken into account. Given the variety of communication partners, a heterogeneous network infrastructure consisting of IP-based and suitable field-level networks is the most appropriate solution. This paper investigates such a two-tier infrastructure and possible field-level networks with particular attention to metering and supervisory control and data acquisition applications. For the problem of network integration, a combination of gateway and tunneling solutions is proposed which allows a semitransparent end-to-end connection between application servers and field nodes. The feasibility of the approach and implementation details are discussed at the example of powerline communication and IP-based networks investigated in the European research project on real-time energy management via powerlines and internet. Nevertheless, it is shown that the communication architecture is versatile enough to serve as a generic solution for smart grids.
Date of Publication: April 2011