Software Brings Enterprise-Class Security to Field-Area Networks for Smart Grid

Jan. 12, 2012
Tropos Networks has announced Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7.

Tropos Networks has announced Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7. This new release of Tropos’ embedded mesh operating system provides the an Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)-based solution to extend secure wireless smart grid communications through substations to distribution automation endpoints such as recloser, capacitor bank and voltage regulator controllers.

IPsec support enables Tropos GridCom field-area networks to extend North American Electric Reliability Corp. Critical Infrastructure Protection-compliant security from a utility’s data centers, through substations, to the wired interfaces of Tropos mesh routers that connect distribution automation endpoints to the network. IPsec effectively secures distribution automation endpoints, including legacy devices that lack native security capabilities. This capability enables secure implementation of distribution automation applications such as conservation voltage reduction, automatic feeder reconfiguration and dynamic Volt/VAR control. Based on open standards, IPsec provides an interoperable method for hosts and security gateways from different vendors to create secure, end-to-end network connections.

For more than a decade, enterprises have relied on IPsec virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure critical systems and sensitive information. By incorporating IPsec into Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7, Tropos brings this time-tested technology to the Smart Grid, introducing enterprise-class security to utilities’ field area networks. Tropos’ IPsec implementation incorporates other enterprise features including multi-homing so that smart grid endpoints can securely connect to more than one data center, providing redundancy and increasing availability, as well as Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) support enabling traffic for different applications to be segregated with each VLAN maintaining its own address space, quality of service policies and security policies including the capability to create one or more IPsec tunnels per VLAN.

“Tropos’ IPsec support extends enterprise-class security into the utility distribution network, securing Smart Grid devices and applications,” said Brian Moccia, AMI technology manager for DTE Energy. “It offers an open standards-based solution for extending secure wireless communications networks beyond substations, to devices such as such as switches, sectionalizers, reclosers and capacitor banks located on distribution feeders.”

“Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7 makes it easier for utilities to meet and exceed cyber security requirements,” said Roman Arutyunov, vice president of product development for Tropos Networks. “Tropos customers can quickly and simply secure their networks by configuring any Tropos mesh router to function as an industry-standard VPN endpoint.”

The IPsec protocol suite provides end-to-end security for IP communications. IPsec authenticates and encrypts each packet of an IP session. It also authenticates each session’s hosts and/or security gateways at the session’s beginning and negotiates the keys to be used during the session. IPsec is defined by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFCs 4301 through 4309.

Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7 is shipping now. Tropos customers with valid support subscriptions can download Tropos Mesh OS Release 7.7 for no additional charge.

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