Software-Defined Networking for Smart Grid Resilience: Opportunities and Challenges

Dong, X., Lin, H.,Tan, R., Iyer, R., Kalbarczyk, Z.

1st ACM Workshop on Cyber-Physical System Security (CPSS '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 61-68.

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Software-defined networking (SDN) is an emerging networking paradigm that provides unprecedented flexibility in dynamically reconfiguring an IP network. It enables various applications such as network management, quality of service (QoS) optimization, and system resilience enhancement. Pilot studies have investigated the possibilities of applying SDN on smart grid communications, while the specific benefits and risks that SDN may bring to the resilience of smart grids against accidental failures and malicious attacks remain largely unexplored. Without a systematic understanding of these issues and convincing validations of proposed solutions, the power industry will be unlikely to embrace SDN, since resilience is  always a key consideration for critical infrastructures like power grids. In this position paper, we aim to provide an initial understanding of these issues, by investigating (1) how SDN can enhance the resilience of typical smart grids to malicious attacks, (2) additional risks introduced by SDN and how to manage them, and (3) how to validate and evaluate SDN-based resilience solutions. Our goal is also to trigger more profound discussions on applying SDN to smart grids and inspire  innovative SDN-based solutions for enhancing smart grid resilience.

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