Everybody in Power Systems and Utilities community will agree to the fact that Reliable, Resilient and Secure Communications infrastructure is must have ingredient for the success and future of the Smart Power Grids. Purpose of this blog entry is not to repeat what communications experts have been saying for last 6-8 years. I would like to shift the focus from the requirement to implementation.
I would like to pose a question here "How do you make sure the communication networks that have been deployed and designed for the future are indeed delivering on the promise of reliable, resilient and secure communications?"
Smart power grids will be intelligent by the virtue of intelligent devices and sensor network that become eyes and ears of the utility operations teams. A parallel can be drawn from human body, where brain is the Utility's operations control center and the network of arteries and nerves is the two way communications network. Similarly blockage of arteries is equivalent of clogged networks resulting in increased letancy hence affecting resiliency of the network. Breakage or damage of nerves is equivalent to communication problems resulting in inability to sense the grid health as well as problems hence affecting the reliability of the grid.
Just for reliable functioning of human body monitoring of vital parameters is must, for the security, reliability and resiliency of the smart grid, monitoring and management of communications network will be a must. The only way to ensure that the designed intelligent, reliable, resilient and secure communciations network is delivering on the promise, is via measuring the performance and monitoring the reliability and resiliency.
Each and every communications vendor has it's own network management system focused on measurement of performance and monitoring of health of their system, but smart grid is not about creating another level of silos. Power of smart grid lies in the fact that it is going to remove the silos via situational awareness and decision support systems across the domains and systems.
Hence in order to analyze the cross-domain, cross-vendor, cross-technolgoy performance and monitor the Smart Grid as whole requires Manager of Managers approach. A network management system that can become the eyes, ears and nose of the Smart Grid Communications Network to ensure the data and information can reach the brain (i.e. Utility Control Center) in a secure and reliable manner. This will help Utility operation teams proactively manage their grid assets and operations.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. This blog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion.