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Communication and protection issues play an important role when speaking about the smart grid. This paper presents possibilities of testing power system protection relays and communication concepts for smart distribution. A description of the Smart Grid laboratory hardware and the main protection devices is presented in the paper. Further use cases and functionalities provided by the lab equipment are described and the possibilities by dynamically configuring devices and system interaction are shown. Concepts for the integration of monitored and controllable decentralized energy sources are demonstrated The coupling between simulation tools and the touchable hardware is a key element for performing analysis of any user-defined scenario and the concept of this coupling is described here. Example test results of protection equipment are presented.