SmartGrid Multiservices FAN Infrastructure Overview
The FAN is the communication network overlay for the electric distribution grid. The Cisco FAN strategy is to create a multiservice, secure, smart, reliable, and scalable communication network that enables a diverse set of use cases such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), distribution automation, asset management, workforce automation, public electric vehicles charging stations, public lighting, and distributed generation and storage.
The FAN is a two-tier architecture that includes a Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) that interconnects, either directly through Ethernet or Serial interfaces or through IEEE 802.15.4g/e RF Mesh, a range of devices such as a cluster of smart meters. These devices interconnect with a series of FAN routers, and a Wide Area Network (WAN). The WAN connects the FAN routers directly to a system control tier or through the substation network.
The Cisco FAN portfolio consists of outdoor and indoor dual-stack (IPv4/IPv6) Cisco 1000 Series Connected Grid Routers (CGR 1000 Series) and the Connected Grid RF Mesh (IEEE 802.15.4g/e) standards-based IPv6 reference designs to enable large-scale IP connectivity for endpoints such as smart meters, sensors, DA devices, and EV charging stations. Cisco is also developing a comprehensive Connected Grid Security and Network Management Platform to provide a single end to-end view of the IP network that can scale to millions of devices.
Cisco's Approach to Multi-Application FAN Architecture:
- Standardization at all levels to ensure interoperability and reduce technology risk for customers as well as partners
- Comprehensive security
- Enables common application layer services over various wired and wireless communication technologies
- Modular, future proof, extensible solution and product architecture
- Scalable enterprise-based network management solution
Benefits of Converged Field Area Network (FAN)
- Reliability: Self-healing capabilities for resilient communications
- Cost: Lower total cost of ownership by common IP services over various communication technologies
- Operations: Simplified deployment, scalable network management
- Investment protection: Enable multiple applications on common network
- Security: Multi-layered, end-to-end security based on NIST guidelines
Cisco's endpoint IP-enablement technology consists of an embedded OS, IP networking stack, networking device drivers, and an application API. The partner is responsible for the underlying system hardware design, the application software (e.g. sensor data collection) and the physical layer interfaces (e.g. sensor/actuator devices, RF or PLC communications, etc.). The following diagram illustrates the protocol layering.
Here is an overview of some of the protocol stack layers and features:
IPv6 protocol suite:
IEEE 802.1x and 802.11i based access-control and security
6LoWPAN based Header Compression (RFC 6282) at MAC layer
The MAC and PHY layers are defined by last-mile technologies of choice (RF/PLC Mesh) and are described below.
MAC layer: IEEE 802.15.4 compliant + 802.15.4e extensions:
PHY layer – IEEE 802.15.4g compliant:
MAC layer: IEEE P1901.2 + IEEE 802.15.4e extensions
PHY layer – IEEE P1901.2 compliant
The following diagram illustrates Cisco's endpoint IP-enablement technology architecture in a conceptual example.
System Development Kit (SDK) Software Overview
Cisco's embedded technology for Smart Grid endpoints may include one or more of:
Embedded OS and application programming environment for a supported embedded microcontroller
Application Programming Interface (API) for IP network communications
Network interface software stack
Network interface drivers for supported MAC/PHY
Software Development Kit (SDK) and documentation