The latest findings from the Newton-Evans Research Company study of control systems used in the electric power industry point to heavy reliance on IP/MPLS networks for wide area communications from substations and other field locations to central site control systems.
Reliance on IP/MPLS Networks
Sixty-seven percent of international respondents use Internet Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) technology for communication from the substation to the external host/network. Thirty percent use a mix of T1/E1 and/or SONET/SDH and packet networks. It is likely that MPLS-TP (Transport Profile) will see increased use in the next Newton-Evans control systems study scheduled for 2019.
Forty-nine percent of North American respondents use IP/MPLS network technology for communication from the substation to the external host/network. Thirty-seven percent use T1/E1 and 33% use SONET/SDH, followed by 27% who use Carrier Ethernet. Often, more than one type of network is used. Half of North America’s investor owned utilities in the survey continue to use T1/E1, and over half of them use IP/MPLS as well.
Reliance on In-House Networks
Sixty-eight percent of international respondents rely on in-house networks for communication from the substation to EMS/SCADA/DMS. Twenty-six percent use a mix of in-house and commercial carrier, but none of the respondents indicated total reliance on commercial carrier networks. Fifty-four percent of North American respondents use a combination of commercial carrier and in-house networks for communication from the substation to EMS/SCADA/DMS. Thirty-seven percent rely exclusively on in-house networks, and 8% use commercial carrier networks only.
Among large North American investor owned utilities, 83% use a combination of commercial carrier and in-house networks to reach each of their substation locations, which typically range from dozens to hundreds of sites over hundreds or thousands of miles of service area. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of public power utilities and 56% of small utilities (rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities serving fewer than 50,000 customers) limit their operational telecommunications approaches to in-house managed networks.
Further information on this new series The World Market Study of SCADA, Energy Management Systems, Distribution Management Systems and Outage Management Systems in Electric Utilities: 2017-2019 is available from Newton-Evans Research Company, 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Phone: 410-465-7316 or visit www.newton-evans.com. For readers interested in purchasing this new series please call or email email@example.com for special introductory pricing.