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Tutorial: DNP3 - SCADA, Clear and Simple

March 28, 2022
DNP3 was developed in the early 1990s to include all functionality found in the hundreds of proprietary protocols in use at that time.
Room: 294 Session Number: TUT-08

Monday, April 25, 2022: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technologies were adopted early by the electric utility industry to assist in the monitoring of the widely distributed grid. Electric utility SCADA has evolved to meet needs of reliable, high-integrity monitoring and control, with an ability to also include Sequence of Event reporting. SCADA is the well-established foundation of the Smart Grid.

On the surface, SCADA seems almost laughably trivial when compared to other power system automation functions, but on deeper inspection it contains both complexity and subtlety, as required to support flexible, highly-customizable systems that require multi-vendor interoperability.

DNP3 was developed in the early 1990s to include all functionality found in the hundreds of proprietary protocols in use at that time. It has a comprehensive set of functions and data types used in the utility industry and remains the most efficient and capable general-purpose SCADA protocol in current use.

In a world where IoT and IIoT gain headlines, SCADA continues to integrate lessons learnt over decades of addressing system requirements and integration with utility control systems. DNP3 embodies this fit-for-purpose design.

DNP3 has continued to evolve to address changes such as the migration to IP network technologies; the inclusion of cybersecurity features; to meet utility and vendor requirements and integration with other applicable standards such as IEC 61850. In doing so, its basic functionality has remained interoperable with the earliest DNP3 devices. Ratified as IEEE Standard 1815 in 2010, the third edition of the standard is due to be released in 2023 with new, enhanced and more user-friendly cybersecurity functionality.

A DNP3 profile for DER integration has been developed in association with EPRI, MESA and SunSpec to addresses the integration of grid-connected inverters. This is being developed into a new standard, IEEE 1815.2.

As with any powerful technology, a lot of detail is hidden beneath the surface. If you need to peek under the hood of DNP3 to better understand how the parts work, or you want to know why SCADA works the way it does, there is good news: The Chair of the DNP Technical Committee is hosting a tutorial entitled “DNP3: SCADA, Clear and Simple” at the IEEE PES T&D Conference in New Orleans this April, where he will explain the basic design principles behind DNP3 and explain the terminology and concepts that people sometimes find confusing. Participants are encouraged to bring all their questions about DNP3! The discussion will also reflect basic SCADA operating philosophy using DNP3 as an example, so if you want to learn about SCADA, this will also be a good vehicle for that.'

Visit Andrew West, SUBNET Solutions Inc. Regional Technical Director & Chair, DNP Technical Committee for informative session.

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