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Telecommunications in Power Utilities

Anthony S Rajamanickam Tenaga Nasional Berhad

This paper aims to introduce and discuss telecommunication services, technology and systems that are employed in electric power utilities. Participants of this short lecture will be able to list telecommunications services that power utilities use and identify and describe the various technologies employed. Some of the illustrations given in this paper have been referred to practices employed in Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

1

Introduction

Telecommunication services in power utilities are being widely used for providing important operational, business and administrative applications of the utilities. Power utilities have traditionally owned and operated their own dedicated communications network to mainly provide SCADA, teleprotection and operational telephony services. With information and communications technology (ICT) increasingly becoming an important tool for increasing productivity and efficiency in light of deregulation and competition, utility communications system need to be reliable, versatile and efficient to provide the necessary quality of service for its business requirements.

Various telecommunication technologies are utilised to meet the different operational and business service requirements of power utilities. The applications range from narrow-band critical teleprotection and SCADA applications to broadband video and corporate ERP needs. Technologies used range from analogue power line carrier technologies to high-speed fibre optic and wireless systems. Traditional utility communications technology such as powerline carrier, plesiochronous digital hierarchy (PDH), microwave, lease line and pilot cable networks have for may years provided reliable telecommunication services for legacy applications. However, such systems are now incapable of meeting the bandwidth, reliability and diverse requirements of modern utility applications. This is more so as information and communications technology (ICT) is now widely accepted as a key enabler in ensuring excellence in business, operations and administrative services in electric utilities.

2

Telecommunication Services for Utility Power System Operations

Telecommunication services reuired for power system oprations include teleprotection, scada/telecontrol, telemetering, voice, fault/disturbance recorder monitoring etc. Figure 1 shows a typical network configuration that supports services for power system operation such as teleprotection, SCADA, telemetering, etc. These services require stringent performance levels such as high availability and low transmission delays.

Substation B Substation A Protection Relay scada COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK SAS Fault recorder meters meters
Substation B
Substation A
Protection Relay
scada
COMMUNICATIONS
NETWORK
SAS
Fault
recorder
meters
meters
Headquarters
Data/Control
Centre

Figure 1. Operational Network Configuration

Telecommunication service level requirements for the different operational requirements have been established by CIGRE [ i ] as given in Table 1. As shown, teleprotection requires the extremely high network availability and response time.

Service

Data

Service requirement transmission time (ms)

Network

Rate

Availability

(Kbit/s)

Voice

8-64

100

>99.5%

Telecontrol

1.2-64

<1000

>99.98%

Teleprotection

     

Blocking

<64

<10

>99.99%

Permissive

<64

<20

>99.99%

Differential

<64

2-10

>99.99%

Intertrip

<64

<40

>99.99%

Video Surveillance

9.6-2048

1000

>99.95%

Other operational data

1.2-64

<1000

>99.95%

Table 1. Operational Service Requirements

2.1

Teleprotection

Teleprotection services impose the greatest performance requirements on the communications network and system. Teleprotection channels are required to be:

a) Fast – Teleprotection operation times are required to be between 10 and 30ms [ii] to ensure high voltage system faults are cleared within 5 cycles or 100ms. For fibre based systems, this delay time includes optical fibre propagation delay (5μs/km) and equipment delays due to buffering, switching, multiplexing or de-multiplexing and protection signalling equipment operation time. SDH equipment typically causes a delay of less than 0.2ms for 2Mbit/s terminating circuits and 60μs for 2Mbit/s through traffic while delay through primary multiplexers where 64Kbit/s circuits terminate can be up to 1ms. Propagation and equipment delays do not generally cause problems for command type protection schemes and delays below 10ms are easily achievable.

Delay variations or asymmetric delays between transmit and receive paths poses the greatest challenge to telecommunications systems and networks. This situation can occur in SDH networks when path protection switching occurs. Traditional current differential relays require a delay variation of less than 0.25ms [ii] for protection with high sensitivity characteristics. IEC 60834-1 recommends propagation delay of less than 5ms[ ii ]for current differential protection schemes.

b) Reliable - Availability of at least 99.99% [ i ] is required (~50 minutes of downtime per year).

c) Dependable – Services must be available when required especially during blackouts or emergencies. The equipment must not fail when it is required to operate.

d) Secure - Maximum security for protection against unwanted tripping caused by interference and high bit-error rates (BER).

Typical teleprotection configuration for command type and current differential protection schemes are given in Figure 2 and Figure 3.

Substation A Substation B X X Protection Protection Relay Relay COMMUNICATION LINK Protection Protection
Substation A
Substation B
X
X
Protection
Protection
Relay
Relay
COMMUNICATION
LINK
Protection
Protection
Signalling
Signalling
Equipmen
Equipmen
Communication
Communication
Equipment
Equipment

Figure 2.

Command Type Teleprotection Scheme

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3

Network Substation A X X Current Differential Current Differential Protection Relay Protection Relay 64Kbit/s
Network
Substation A
X
X
Current Differential
Current Differential
Protection Relay
Protection Relay
64Kbit/s G.703
64Kbit/s G.703
COMMUNICATION
Data Interface
Data Interface
LINK
Communication
Communication
Equipment
Equipment

Figure 3.

2.2 SCADA/Telecontrol

Current Differential Protection Scheme

SCADA/telecontrol applications need dependable and secure communications systems but may tolerate slight delays (1-2 seconds). Slow speed serial data up to 9600bit/s are being employed. However, newer systems are moving towards IP technology to provide a more flexible and versatile data network.

2.3 Voice

Voice communication is a critical service for power systems operations especially during emergencies. Load despatchers will require secure communications with power plant operators and substation operators during these situations to restore power supply with minimum disruption. Use of public telecommunication voice services be it fixed line or mobile during supply interruption is not reliable as network congestion and failure is high during power supply failures.

Generally, utilities own and operate dedicated circuit switched or TDM based PABX systems for grid system operation. The network usually uses a 3 or 4 digit numbering system.

2.4 Other Data Services

It is now common for power utilities to use technologies such as substation automation systems, surveillance video, telemetering and on-line condition monitoring systems to help improve reliability and availability of power supply and to improve operational efficiency. Fault diagnostics and on-line monitoring tools such as fault recorders, fault locators and condition monitoring systems are installed to assist operators and maintenance staff in determining the integrity, location and probable causes of faults quickly. Information is quickly relayed to the operational and maintenance staff so that supply restoration time can be minimised or potential catastrophe may be avoided.

3

Telecommunication Services for Business & Administrative Applications

A corporate data network is used for enabling corporate IT systems that are

necessary for business operations such as enterprise resource planning, customer information and billing system, e-mail, management information systems, facilities management, internet access etc. Business and administrative service requirements do not require stringent delay and availability performance as compared with operational requirements; however a data network that can provide the performance requirements of users with respect to response time and availability is important to ensure business continuity and efficiency. Data network bandwidth requirements and utilisation far exceeds operational requirements and requires careful planning and traffic engineering efforts to ensure all services are delivered with the expected performance levels.

The performance requirements of business and administrative services are shown in Table II.

Service

Data Rate

Network

(Kbit/s)

Availability

CIBS ERP (AM, FM, MM) E-Mail Internet Access GIS

64Kbps-10Mbps

99.5%

Telephony

64Kbps-2Mbps

99.5%

Video Conference

Table 2. Business and Administrative Service Requirements

CIBS- Customer Information and Billing System ERP- Enterprise Resource Planning AM- Assest Management FM- Facilities Management MM- Material Management

The corporate data network required to support these important services must have the following features:

reliable

fast

secure

flexible

manageable

A high speed core data network providing reliable connectivity for all branch

offices is essential for efficient operation of IT applications. High capacity IP network operating on a SDH backbone network provides the flexibility, reliability, speed and manageability features. The corporate data network configuration is shown in Figure 4.

Head Office Database & Servers PC Application Server X Terminal LAN router WAN (Wide Area
Head Office
Database & Servers
PC
Application
Server X Terminal
LAN
router
WAN (Wide Area
Network)
Branch Office B
Branch Office A
Application
Application
X Terminal
Server
router
router
X Terminal
LAN
LAN (Local Area Network)
Figure 4. Corporate Data Network Configuration

4

Telecommunication Network

Telecommunication networks consist of transport and access networks to provide communication channels for the required services. A combination of different technologies is used to ensure required service performances are achieved.

4.1

Transport Network

The transport network consists of transport media and transmission system. PDH, SDH and microwave systems are the most common forms of transport network. However, power line carrier systems are still being utilised to form the transport network albeit its limited bandwidth capacity compared with fibre optics or digital microwave systems.

4.1.1

Optical Fibre Cables

With liberalisation of the telecommunication and power industry, power utilities are investing in fibre optic infrastructures on power lines either on their own or through joint venture partnership with telecommunication operators. A ready network of power line infrastructure enables reliable, quick and cheap installation of optical fibre cables as compared to conventional duct installation.

Three types of cable construction that are installed on transmission lines are:-

OPGW - it is now common for power utilities to install optical fibre ground wire (OPGW) on all new transmission lines.

Wrapped or lashed optical fibre cable - installed on existing lines.

All dielectric self-supporting optical fibre cables - installed on existing lines.

Retrofitting lines with fibre optics with either wrap/lashed, self-supporting type or even OPGW depends on power system operation constraints, tower structure design, environmental conditions and local statutory requirements.

Cable Design and Construction

Figure 5 . OPGW Construction with 2 helical slotted core consisting of 6 fibres per

Figure 5. OPGW Construction with 2 helical slotted core consisting of 6 fibres per slot

Design and construction of optical fibre cables on power lines shall meet the following criteria:

High mechanical strength – the cable shall be able to withstand continuous stress and exposure to harsh environmental conditions.

Light weight – the cable shall impose minimal loading on support structure.

Consistent optical properties - the optical properties shall be stable even at the most severe conditions.

Good electrical properties - if the cable is used as a ground wire, the electrical requirements on fault current carrying capacity and conductivity shall be met.

Withstand effects of EHV - dielectric optical cable shall withstand effects of high electric field on its sheath for long years of service.

OPGW

Optical ground wire or OPGW is a composite earthwire conductor that contains optical fibres in its central core. Loose tube or tight buffered single mode optical fibres are centrally located in aluminium tubes or in aluminium slots and are covered by one or two layers or aluminium clad steel wires or aluminium and steel wires. Typical cable construction is shown in Figure 5.

As OPGW functions as both electrical and optical transmission media, its design and construction shall satisfy both the electrical and optical specifications. The two major electrical requirements of the cable are low DC resistance and fault current withstand capability. The optical performance of the cable shall be stable and unaffected during lightning and fault conditions. Particular attention should be given on fibre strain as the cable is under tension throughout its life. The conductor is subject to continuous changes in strain due to temperature and wind load variations. OPGW is very robust as the fibres are well protected against mechanical damage by the aluminium clad steel strands.

ADSS

ADSS Figure 6. Construction of All Dielectric Self-Supporting Cable All dielectric self-supporting or ADSS ca bles
ADSS Figure 6. Construction of All Dielectric Self-Supporting Cable All dielectric self-supporting or ADSS ca bles

Figure 6. Construction of All Dielectric Self-Supporting Cable

All dielectric self-supporting or ADSS cables are retrofitted on existing transmission lines. Figure 6 shows the construction of ADSS cable employing aramid as the tensile strength member. A central GRP rod prevents cable kink. Loose tubes containing optical fibres are jelly filled to prevent moisture ingress and also to act as a buffer for the fibres. A layer of aramid strength material provides the necessary tensile strength. An anti-tracking outer sheath of HDPE material provides protection against sheath degradation when the cable is placed in high electric field zones. These cables can be installed under hot-line or live line conditions in utilities where local statutory regulations permit such installations. Optical cables installed in this manner are de-coupled from the power system unlike OPGW and wrapped/lashed optical fibre cables. The flexibility of ADSS installation enables installation and maintenance to be carried out without power line outage. The cables are attached to the power line structures along the centre line of the transmission route at points where the electrical field potential is low.

ADSS cables are under constant and dynamic load conditions and span lengths can be extremely long, for instance 800 - 1000m. When installed on high voltage lines above 132kV, the cable sheath is subject to high electrostatic stress and will experience tracking and dry-band arcing activity. Dry-band arcing and tracking are major factors that determine the cable life on a power line. Factors that contribute to dry-band arcing are field potential at ADSS cable location, pollution level, amount and type of rain, jacket material and maximum line voltage. Research[ iii ] has shown that for dry band arcing to occur, a field potential of at least 25kV is required to cause sheath damage. Dry band arcing results in 3 failure modes, viz.

1. tracking - carbon tree on polymer leading to polymer deterioration

2. erosion - polymer bond gives way to stress and strain and heat generated from dry band arcing activity.

3. puncture - creating a hole in the sheath due to generation of substantial heat from arcing.

Wrap Around Optical Fibre Cable

Wrapped cables were lashed or wrapped around phase conductors initially but were later installed on earthwires. Compared with OPGW and ADSS cables, wrapped optical cables are the lightest, smallest and have the least fibre count. Wrapped cables introduces minimal mechanical loads on tower structures and requires minimal installation tools and manpower compared with the installation methods for OPGW and ADSS optical cables. However, specialised installation tools are required. Wrapped optical cables can be installed under life-line conditions on power line with a single central earthwire or if sufficient clearance is available on two earthwire constructions. If low fibre counts are sufficient, this type of cable installation is especially suited for installation on power lines that traverses along rough and inaccessible terrain.

4.1.2 Power Line Carrier

Narrow band PLC

Dedicated power line carrier (PLC) systems were one of the earliest technologies used by utilities worldwide. High frequency carrier signals carrying voice and data messages are superimposed with the power frequency voltage and current signals on transmission lines. This feature enabled a fast and cheap method to develop a telecommunication network. PLC systems typically operate between 30-500kHz and offer the most reliable and economical channel for teleprotection applications. PLC systems were only used for power system operational requirements such as SCADA, teleprotection and voice and were owned, operated and maintained by the utilities. PLC systems are still widely used and when used together with broadband fibre systems provide excellent backup for teleprotection, voice and slow speed data applications. Power line carrier is throughout the world. PLC communication is however limited to a 4kHz bandwidth and its performance is subject to electromagnetic interference, frequency congestion, environmental influence and variation in line characteristics.

The components of a PLC system as shown in Figure 7 are as follows:

system as shown in F i g u r e 7 are as follows: Figure 7.

Figure 7. Power Line Carrier Communication System [iv]

Line trap – a device installed in series with the power conductors that is used to block the communication signals which are superimposed with the 50Hz power frequency currents from being absorbed into substation power equipment.

from being absorbed into substation power equipment. Figure 8. Line Trap and Capacitor Voltage Transformer [

Figure 8. Line Trap and Capacitor Voltage Transformer [v]

Coupling capacitor – a device that allows high frequency signals to be coupled into and extracted from the high voltage network. This device is used in conjunction with capacitor voltage transformers to provide a electrical insulation between the high voltage system and the PLC equipment.

Line Tuner (Matching Unit) – a device that provides tuneable impedance matching facilities between PLC equipment and the power line.

Broadband Digital Powerline Technology

Broadband digital power line technology promises high-speed connectivity using customer’s existing power line connections. Although narrowband DPL has been successfully implemented in many utilities for SCADA and telemetering applications, broadband DPL for speeds above 45Mbit/s have yet to be technically demonstrated for distances more than 500m. Low voltage distribution power network characterisation, standards and regulatory compliance, safety concerns are among the other issues that need to be addressed before deployment, if commercially viable, can be made.

DPL technology is a potential revenue earner for utilities as it may provide broadband connectivity to customers using existing distribution power lines. However, the commercial viability of such investment requires serious consideration as competing technologies using wireless and cable systems by telcos are developing rapidly.

4.1.3

PDH

Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH) transmission systems were developed in the 1970s to efficiently transport large number of telephone circuits using microwave or fibre optics transmission media. Time domain multiplexing using bit interleaving techniques were used to increase transmission capacity in a hierarchical manner.

The PDH hierarchy levels in accordance with ITU-T Recommendations are as follows:

Hierarchy

Bit Rate (Kbit/s)

0

64

1

2048

2

8448

3

34,368

4

139,264

Table 3. ITU-T Recommended PDH Hierarchy

Transmission bit rates for the North American and Japanese systems differs from that of the International standards given by ITU-T.

PDH implementation is cumbersome especially as multiplexing and demultiplexing is required at every intermediate node. PDH is essentially a point- to-point networking technology as channel cross-connections at 2Mbit/s and higher require hardwire terminations. Even channels that are not required to be dropped have to be terminated. This is illustrated in Figure 9 below.

to be terminated. This is illustrated in Figure 9 below. 4.1.4 SDH Figure 9. 34Mbit/s PDH

4.1.4

SDH

Figure 9.

34Mbit/s PDH Equipment Configuration

SDH technology was introduced in the mid 1980s to replace plesiochronous digital hierarchy (PDH) technology that had shortcomings such as lack of standardised interfaces, capacity and management features. Key advantages of SDH over PDH are as follows:

simple multiplexing and demultiplexing structure

advanced management features

standardised optical interfaces that allows multi-vendor interoperability

advanced network protection mechanism such as path protection and self-healing ring architecture.

high transmission capacity; up-to 10Gbit/s

increased element reliability

SONET/SDH Designations and bandwidths

SONET Frame

SDH level and Frame Format

 

Format

Line Rate (kbit/s)

STS-1

STM-0

51

840

STS-3

STM-1

155

520

STS-12

STM-4

622

080

STS-48

STM-16

2

488 320

STS-192

STM-64

9

953 280

STS-768

STM-256

39

813 120

STS-3072

STM-1024

159

252 240

Table 4.

SDH Levels and Bit Rates

Telecommunications network operators world-wide use SDH in the backbone because it is able to provide the required bandwidth, reliability and network resiliency. Transmission speeds begin at 155.52Mbit/s or STM-1 level (Synchronous Transport Module) and increase in multiples of 4 up-to STM-64 or 10Gbit/s. Equipment protection switching time of less than 50ms enables rapid restoration of services and ensures service level guarantees are complied.

4.1.5 Next Generation SDH (NG-SDH)

Next generation SDH technology enables both deterministic TDM and non- deterministic packet based traffic to be switched and transported. NG-SDH provides traditional PDH/ SDH and Ethernet/FICON/ESCON/fibre channel interfaces for switching and transmission. Several standardised features such as Generic Framing Procedure (GFP), Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS) and Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) enables multi-vendor interworking. GFP and VCAT enables efficient utilisation of SDH capacity as bandwidth for Ethernet traffic can be allocated in increments of 2Mbit/s or VC-12 levels. VCAT enables traffic to be transported over different path for protection and efficient utilisation of network resources.

A typical SDH network configuration is shown in Figure 10 where cross- connections, multiple line and access interface are supported. This enables flexible and efficient use of resources and simplifies operations and maintenance.

of resources and si mplifies operations and maintenance. Typical SDH Equipment Configuration Figure 10. Asean
of resources and si mplifies operations and maintenance. Typical SDH Equipment Configuration Figure 10. Asean
of resources and si mplifies operations and maintenance. Typical SDH Equipment Configuration Figure 10. Asean

Typical SDH Equipment Configuration

Figure 10.

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4.1.6

DWDM

DWDM was developed to provide increased transmission capacity using existing fibres. Submarine and long haul transmission systems where fibre is a premium, uses DWDM to transmit up to 40 or more wavelengths in a single fibre with transmission capacities in terabits/s. Long haul DWDM systems however require non-zero dispersion fibres compliant with ITU-T Recommendations G.655 for transmission. Standard ITU-T G.652 grade fibres are not suitable for such long haul transmission as signal dispersion (chromatic and polarisation mode dipersion) and non-linear effects (wave mixing) would degrade the composite signal. DWDM is transparent to different transmission protocols such as TDM traffic, ATM, FICON, Gigabit Ethernet, fibre channel etc.

4.2

Data Network Technology

4.2.1

Frame Relay

Frame relay is a data network technology that supports flexible connection of data circuits based on demand on a shared infrastructure. Frame relay evolved from X.25 packet switched technology and operates at layer 2 (link layer) of the ISO 7 (Open System Interconnection) layer model. Data is sent in packet form using statistical multiplexing techniques. Data circuits are virtual and hence bandwidth is only used when required. Frame relay thus optimises network resources and with protection switching features, provide efficient and reliable data transmission. Although frame relay is designed for pure data transmission, voice and video can also be transmitted. Frame relay provides a wide-area data network for intranet, distribution automation, substation control system, SCADA, telemetering and fault recording applications.

Frame relay provides an efficient data network for non-critical operational, administrative and corporate data services. Due to the nature of its statistical multiplexing and switching technology, it is unsuitable for transmission of teleprotection signals as there are no deterministic propagation and equipment delay times. Furthermore, packets may be discarded during sudden burst of traffic. SCADA and distribution automation systems are low bandwidth users but require secure, dependable and fast response times. As such, these applications should not share a corporate frame relay network that supports high bandwidth applications and bursty data traffic.

4.2.2 IP Network

Network technologies using IP (internet protocol) is becoming the preferred method of communications and is the network technology of the internet. IP is the standard that defines the manner in which the network layers (layer 3 of the 7 layer ISO model) of two hosts interact. IP is unreliable as it does not guarantee transmission of packets since transmission of packets is based on best effort means. Hence there is no guarantee that packets will be delivered as expected as data corruption, lost data, non-sequence arrival etc. can occur. It is a connectionless technology that allows connection from anywhere to anywhere. IP also supports transmission of voice packets allowing huge savings in call charges. Ethernet, fast Ethernet and gigabit Ethernet all use IP for communications.

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4.2.3

ATM

ATM or asynchronous transfer mode technology is a high-speed transport and switching technology for broadband telecommunications services. Voice, video, image and data are transmitted using fixed packet sizes of 53 bytes (5bytes header and 48 bytes payload) or cells using the same ATM switch. This simplifies network management, optimises network resources and saves cost. ATM serves well for multimedia, LAN/WAN and intranet services. ATM is a matured technology that is able to guarantee quality of service (QoS) and prioritisation requirements for different types of services.

ATM and IP have similar characteristics as frame relay since they employ packet switched technology but unlike IP and frame relay, ATM provides quality of service features. ATM is however not efficient for slow bit rate data such as asynchronous V.24 or RS232 data for SCADA and telemetering as significant signal transfer delay is caused by buffering, packetisation and ATM mapping. ATM is unsuitable for teleprotection and slow speed data services but is well suited for non-critical high-speed data, voice and video services.

4.2.4 MPLS-VPN

MPLS-VPN provides an efficient way to transport traffic of different classes or priority of over an IP network. Traffic engineering, quality of service and differentiated services are supported by MPLS to ensure data is transported fast and efficiently. Labels marking different classes of services are attached to label switched routers and transported over core routers. IP packets are routed through the network to its destination by label identification without the need to access the IP headers thus reducing packet forwarding time.

4.3 Communications Technology Suitable for Power Utilities

The unique communications requirements of power utilities require the selection of a suitable communications technology. SDH, ATM and IP network technologies that may provide the required services. The advantages and disadvantages of these technologies are given in Table 5.

SDH uses time domain multiplexing technology that guarantees transmission of data between two points as communication channels are dedicated. Delays and delay variations are minimal as long as the send and receive paths are the same. However, for ring or mesh networks, delays and delay variations may pose problems when SDH network protection mechanisms come into play as illustrated

in Figure 11.

Technology

Advantages

Disadvantages

SDH

Guaranteed QoS Resilient Very low latency Very high capacity (upto

Resources tied down even when idle. Low efficiency when transporting bursty data traffic.

10Gbps).

Delay variations are extremely low

ATM

QoS available Very efficient in switching and transporting Voice, Video and Data traffic.

Medium latency Non-deterministic delay Limited capacity (upto 622Mbps) Moderate delay and delay variations

IP

QoS using RPR and MPLS Very high capacity (upto

Medium latency Non-deterministic delay Moderate to high delay and delay variations

10Gbps)

Table 5.

Comparison of Communications Technologies.

protection or alternate path SDH SDH ADM ADM 155Mbit/s 155Mbit/s (STM-1) (STM-1) 155Mbit/s (STM-1) SDH
protection or
alternate path
SDH
SDH
ADM
ADM
155Mbit/s
155Mbit/s
(STM-1)
(STM-1)
155Mbit/s
(STM-1)
SDH
SDH
ADM
ADM
working or main
path
2Mbit/s
tributaries
Pmux
Pmux
G.703 64Kbit/s
G.703 64Kbit/s
CD
CD
Relay
Relay
Key:
Fibre Optics Link
Pmux - Primary Multiplexer
CD Relay - Current Differential Relay
SDH ADM - Synchronous Digital Hierarchy Add-Drop Multiplexer

Figure 11. Teleprotection using SDH Network

Command type teleprotection may be used on SDH systems so long as the delay on alternate or redundant transmission path caused by switching is less than 30ms. The most stringent delay condition imposed on SDH networks are by current differential relays that typically require delay variations of less than 0.25ms. Large delay variations may occur as a result of asymmetrical transmission caused by protection switching as shown in Figure 11.

In these situations, path protection for the teleprotection channels may be disabled to avoid unwanted relay operation. The teleprotection channels may be restored after equalising the delays by manual switching from the network control centre. As timing is a key issue, protection relays that have GPS (global positioning system) synchronisation [ vi ] and delay compensation features will be able to operate correctly even with large delays or delay variations.

5 Network Management System

To manage the operations and performance of the telecommunications network effectively, a centralised telecommunications network management system located at the network operations centre is required. The main functions of the operations centre will be as follows:

Provide central network monitoring and control facilities

Assist in network restoration activities

Configure and allocate network resources for optimisation

Detect faults as soon as they occur for immediate restoration

Monitor network capacity utilisation for future expansion plans

Manage alarms and system faults

Maintain network database

Monitor and produce network performance reports

Plan and schedule network maintenance activities

Coordinate with grid system operators during emergencies

Coordinate network restoration activities with regional field staff

Generate service level agreement performance reports

The ISO (International Standards Organisation) model for NMS has established the following conceptual areas (FCAPS):

a) Fault Management – equipment and network faults and alarms are captured and notified to operators via alarms for fast restoration.

b) Accounting Management - network utilisation parameters are measured to facilitate regulated use of network.

c) Configuration Management – network and system configuration information is monitored so that effects on network operation by different versions of hardware and software can be tracked and managed.

d) Performance Management – network performance parameters such as error rates, system availability etc are monitored and captured once the set thresholds have been breached.

e) Security Management - access to network resources are controlled to ensure the network cannot be sabotaged (intentionally or unintentionally) and sensitive information cannot be accessed unauthorized staff.

6.

Network Architecture

Establishment of a common integrated telecommunications network will provide efficient utilisation of telecommunication assets to provide services for operational, business and administrative applications as shown in Table 6.

   

Shared

 

Applications/Services

Dedicated

Sub-Network

Backbone

Infrastructure

Applications

 

Operational

Teleprotection Distance, Current Differential, Direct Intertrip, Wide Area Protection Telephony

Operational

 

Condition Monitoring, RTU, Fault recorder, Power Quality monitoring, Telemetering, video surveillance

Sub-Networks

Trunk/

 

Backbone

Network

Applications

Administrative

Business &

ERP CIBS, Internet Access, Video Conferencing MIS Telephony

Business &

Administrative

Sub-Networks

Table 6.

Integrated Telecommunication Network Services

The telecommunication network architecture that supports the integrated model is shown in Figure 13. Optical fibre and SDH backbone network (next generation type) provides a common infrastructure to transport packet and TDM traffic. This ensures that both delay sensitive and high speed network connectivity is assured.

Video voice Mbit/s Data IP Frame Ethernet SDH Network DWDM Optical Fibre
Video
voice
Mbit/s
Data
IP
Frame
Ethernet
SDH Network
DWDM
Optical Fibre

Figure 13. Integrated Telecommunication Network Architecture

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7.

Conclusion

The information age together with deregulation, globalisation and competition has brought rapid change in the way businesses especially utilities operate. Telecommunications services together with information technology are key enablers for power utilities to ensure power system operations, business and administrative processes are efficiently and effectively delivered. With the availability of a wide range of telecommunications technologies, utilities need to select the right mix of technologies to meet the diverse operational, administrative and business requirements.

REFERENCES

[ i ] “Power System Communications in the High Speed Environment”, Cigre Technical SC 35, WG 07, Dec. 1996.

[ ii ] “Communications for Protection”, Cigre JWG 34/35.11, 2000.

[ iii ] CN Carter, “ Arc control devices for use on all-dielectric self-supporting optical cables”, IEE Proceedings - A, Vol. 140. No.5, September 1993, pp 357-361.

[ iv ] “Power Line Carrier Communications System Modeling” B. A. Mork, D. Ishchenko, X. Wang, A.D. Yerrabelli, R.P. Quest, C.P. Kinne

[ v ] Areva T&D Magazine - Line Trap

[ vi ] “Transmission Line Current Differential Protection Using GPS Timing Information”, H.Y.Li, E.P. Southern, S. Potts, P.A. Crossly, I.J. Hall.