Assessment of real-time networks and timing for process bus applications

Ingram, David, Schaub, Pascal, Campbell, Duncan, & Taylor, Richard (2013) Assessment of real-time networks and timing for process bus applications. In Proceedings of the 2013 South East Asia Protection and Automation Conference (SEAPAC). CIGRE Australia, Australia, pp. 1-32.

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Conference Presentation


Widespread adoption by electricity utilities of Non-Conventional Instrument Transformers, such as optical or capacitive transducers, has been limited due to the lack of a standardised interface and multi-vendor interoperability. Low power analogue interfaces are being replaced by IEC 61850 9 2 and IEC 61869 9 digital interfaces that use Ethernet networks for communication. These ‘process bus’ connections achieve significant cost savings by simplifying connections between switchyard and control rooms; however the in-service performance when these standards are employed is largely unknown. The performance of real-time Ethernet networks and time synchronisation was assessed using a scale model of a substation automation system. The test bed was constructed from commercially available timing and protection equipment supplied by a range of vendors. Test protocols have been developed to thoroughly evaluate the performance of Ethernet networks and network based time synchronisation. The suitability of IEEE Std 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) as a synchronising system for sampled values was tested in the steady state and under transient conditions. Similarly, the performance of hardened Ethernet switches designed for substation use was assessed under a range of network operating conditions. This paper presents test methods that use a precision Ethernet capture card to accurately measure PTP and network performance. These methods can be used for product selection and to assess ongoing system performance as substations age. Key findings on the behaviour of multi-function process bus networks are presented. System level tests were performed using a Real Time Digital Simulator and transformer protection relay with sampled value and Generic Object Oriented Substation Events (GOOSE) capability. These include the interactions between sampled values, PTP and GOOSE messages. Our research has demonstrated that several protocols can be used on a shared process bus, even with very high network loads. This should provide confidence that this technology is suitable for transmission substations.