Access to substation devices (IEDs, RTUs) for utility engineers and technicians who are not physically present at the substation is vital to grid operations. Currently, engineers/technicians perform much of their work remotely from workstations or laptops, typically over dial-up modems and other ad-hoc means. At the same time, non-critical administrative access to the substation devices is also required for the management of the substation. With the installation of a Cisco WAN / Substation network, these communications can be unified, made secure, and compliant to NERC/CIP reporting.
- Information flow is often slow; RTUs periodically poll various substation devices and collect data to be analyzed by backend systems. No intelligent processing occurs at this point.
- Back office systems poll RTUs for data across typically low speed links with significant latency, with as much as second+ delay.
- Workstations/laptops are limited to slow dial-up connections prone to drops and disconnects hampering the engineers/technicians from performing routine duties, remediation, or emergency activities in a timely manner.
- Connectivity via dial-up modems and 1-MB line(s) is both costly and problematic. Providers mandate costly electrical isolation equipment at ingress to each substation for each line.
- NERC-CIP reporting requirements of who connected to which device, when and for how long, and what operations were performed during the session are often not met.
Solution integration testing will typically consists of the following steps:
- Define test plan
- Functional test cases
- Performance test cases
- NERC/CIP reporting test cases
- Physical connection of the devices and network
- Network configuration
- WAN setup and configuration
- Substation network setup and configuration
- Substation Gateway(s) setup and configuration (if applicable)
- Device(s) setup and configuration
- Virtual LAN, VPN, and QoS configurations
- Execute test plan