NOJA Power participated in a demonstration of its RC10 control and communication cubicle communicating with other manufacturers’ Intelligent Electronic Devices (IED) by using an industry-standard protocol.
The demonstration, which took place on the Distributed Network Protocol (DNP) User Group’s booth at DistribuTECH 2015, showed how DNP-Secure Authentication version 5 (SAv5) operates as a secure, interoperable communication protocol for smart grid applications. The demonstration comprised a Triangle MicroWorks test harness operating as a control center communicating with NOJA Power’s RC10 controller and IEDs from other vendors using the DNP3-SAv5 protocol.
DNP3 already plays a crucial role as a reliable protocol for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems––such as SCADA master stations, Remote Terminal Units (RTU) and IEDs––employed to monitor and control contemporary grids. The demonstration highlighted the interoperability and security of DNP3-SAv5, a version of the DNP3 protocol with features designed to protect smart grids––computerized, bidirectional, interactive electricity distribution networks––from cyber attacks.
Such threats are of increasing concern to governments as the Internet connectivity of smart grids could leave them vulnerable to strikes by malevolent entities. A report conducted by California State University for the California Energy Commission, for example, concluded that smart grids were increasingly vulnerable to cyber security issues such as confidentiality of user information, integrity of demand response systems, integrity and availability of SCADA systems, and integrity and availability of Plug‐In Electric Vehicles. The report suggested that smart grids should be designed with measures to counter these vulnerabilities.
Since introduction, NOJA Power’s RC10 controller has supported DNP3, and the latest generation of the product supports DNP3-SA version 2 (v2) and DNP3-SAv5. DNP3-SA defines a security architecture that uniquely identifies devices or multiple individual “users” of a device, provides for separate update keys for each device or user and supports encryption. An update introduced in DNP3-SAv5 supports symmetric or asymmetric public key infrastructure mechanisms.
The RC10 supports Ethernet (TCP/IP and UPD/IP), an RS232 RTU interface and 3 x USB ports offer 300-19.2 k baud serial ports with full- and half-duplex modes to connect to remote control systems and DNP3 is provided as standard using any of these interfaces. The RC10 can be configured as a field device for normal DNP3 communication with a single DNP3 master station using either a serial channel or an Ethernet network. Alternatively, several master stations can communicate with a single RC10 providing that the master stations coordinate so that connections appear to originate from a single unit.
The DNP Users Group is a U.S.-based, non-profit organization with the primary purpose of maintaining and promoting DNP3.