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Solutions to the Computer Networking Challenges of the Distribution Smart Grid

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3 Author(s)
Selga, J.M. ; Grup de Recerca en Sist. Distribuits i Telematica, La Salle - Ramon Llull Univ., Barcelona, Spain ; Zaballos, A. ; Navarro, J.

Communication networks play a crucial role in the context of Smart Grids since they enable a broad set of appealing facilities, from both producers and consumers side, to be effectively delivered. So far, several standards (e.g., IEC 61850-5) have been presented aiming to detail the specific requirements for such networks on the Smart Grid domain. However, the definitions proposed by these standards are confined to a reduced part of the grid: the primary substation. This situation prevents electrical distribution networks from fully exploiting the Smart Grid concept as a whole (i.e., provide truly distributed energy resources). The purpose of this paper is to (1) provide a further insight qualitative analysis of the yet-unexplored communication requirements raised by the electrical distribution Smart Grid, and (2) propose novel solutions targeted at creating link layer networks spanning a given electrical distribution area to allow faster and more reliable communication. Specifically, these solutions are devoted to extend all standards and communication mechanisms already defined for primary substations, to the whole grid by considering the electrical distribution grid as a collection of virtual substations. Furthermore, collected experiences throughout the implementation of this proposal envisage some alternatives to boost the performance of this protocol in terms of reliability and latency.

Published in:

Communications Letters, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 3 )