Secure Wide-Area Data and Communication Networks for PMU-based Power System Applications

Activity Leads: 
Research Summary: 

Phasor measurement units (PMUs) were among the first devices that could monitor the grid in a synchronized way and produce phasor measurements, also known as SynchroPhasors. A distinguishing feature of PMUs is their high sampling rate, which ranges from 30 samples per second up to 120 samples per second in current implementations; for that reason, they are capable of performing measurement of system dynamic performance that was not possible with traditional SCADA systems. The synchronized monitoring and high sampling rate make PMUs the ideal class of monitoring device for wide-area monitoring and control. However, realization of continent-wide monitoring and control requires not only synchronized measurement, but also a high-speed communication infrastructure that enables secure sharing of synchronized monitoring data among control centers. Thus, the North American SynchroPhasor Initiative (NASPI) community proposed the development of such an infrastructure, known as the NASPI Network (or NASPInet), that is secure, standardized, distributed, and capable of supporting future needs. However, given the high sampling rate of PMUs and the low latency requirements of some PMU–based applications, securing PMU data sharing in real-time is a challenging problem.

In this activity we worked on identifying the security requirements, challenges and opportunities provided by PMU data networks. We designed and developed a tiered architecture for realizing NAPInet in an organic fashion. Some of the ideas proposed in this activity have gained traction in the community and have been discussed at NASPI Data and Network Management Task Team (DNMTT). The researchers on this activity were active members of DNMTT. Further, researchers on this team were selected to design a limited NASPInet pilot for Entergy in collaboration with GPA Inc. Research done in this activity also laid the foundation for the development of Secure Information Exchange Gateway (SIEGate) in collaboration with GPA.