3

Communication Technologies for the Smart Grid

3.1 Introduction

The communication infrastructure of a power system typically consists of SCADA systems with dedicated communication channels to and from the System Control Centre and a Wide Area Network (WAN). Some long-established power utilities may have private telephone networks and other legacy communication systems. The SCADA systems connect all the major power system operational facilities, that is, the central generating stations, the transmission grid substations and the primary distribution substations to the System Control Centre. The WAN is used for corporate business and market operations. These form the core communication networks of the traditional power system. However, in the Smart Grid, it is expected that these two elements of communication infrastructure will merge into a Utility WAN.

An essential development of the Smart Grid (Figure 3.1) is to extend communication throughout the distribution system and to establish two-way communications with customers through Neighbourhood Area Networks (NANs) covering the areas served by distribution substations. Customers’ premises will have Home Area Networks (HANs). The interface of the Home and Neighbourhood Area Networks will be through a smart meter or smart interfacing device.

The various communication sub-networks that will make up the Smart Grid employ different technologies (Table 3.1) and a key challenge is how they can be integrated effectively.

In the ISO/OSI ...

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