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This paper provides an outline of the IEC 61850 standard, it proposes a configuration policy for IEC 61850-compliant SASs and describes their detailed system configuration. This paper also raises issues to be overcome with regard to the practical use of IEC 61850 and describes methods to ensure that interoperability is maintained for multivendor solutions. In addition, this paper explains the technologies and knowledge required to construct an interoperable system with IEC 61850 learnt from our experience of IEC 61850-compliant verification tests and actual projects in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. This paper also clearly describes appropriate definitions for logical nodes, communication services, optional signal settings and allocation of functions to physical devices that must be carefully considered by the system integrator.