The introduction of smart grid has revolutionized the conventional approaches of electrical grids in supplying and distributing electricity. Smart grid offers enhanced data communication and automation for power grid so that data regarding power generation and distribution can be collected and analyzed in a near real-time synchronization. Besides the technological benefits, smart grid offers the visibility of all the integrated subsystems and provides predictive information to the control center. The convergence helps critical infrastructure owner to save operating and capital expense.
To achieve the full potential of a smart grid, the communication infrastructure has to be reorganized to better manage and monitor the operations. For instance, the communication protocols shall adopt IP networks instead of serial bus. Meanwhile, the IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) capabilities must be intelligently integrated to reach the optimized status of substation automation. This requires a next-generation computing gateway to perform the required tasks.
An expert in industrial communication and substation automation worked with Lanner to co-develop a rugged computing gateway for the OT domains. The required hardware shall meet the following requirements to be deployable in OT.
High-availability (HA) is a design conception that defines the hardware capability and reliability. High-availability is critical to ensure optimal performance at all times in power substation application, even when workloads are heavy.
Power supply must remain operating in a 24/7 manner. Thus, redundancy design, such as HSR and PRP, are crucial to enable real-time communications and switchover.
Network redundancy for substation environment
To ensure the constant delivery of electricity, today’s smart grids protocols shall support HSR/PRP in order to assure resilience in the network topology of the distribution of power.
To avoid interruptions of operations, the required hardware gateway shall offer hot-swappable access to replacing power supply units and storage devices. In addition, the USB ports shall be designed with Key Lock.
Throughout the collaboration, Lanner introduced LEC-3340, a high-availability rugged computing gateway certified with IEC-61850 and IEEE1613. Empowered by Intel® Xeon® E3-1505L V6, Core i3-7100E or i5-7442EQ processor, LEC-3340 delivers the optimal performance, flexibility, security and scalability for smart grid communications.
As a HA hardware, LEC-3340 is designed with ECC memory and mass storage that has been arranged in a redundant array of SSD drives (RAID). ECC memory ensures that error bit is corrected to prevent failure in critical applications. In addition, RAID storage array is beneficial for the performance and data backup efficiency in critical infrastructures.
LEC-3340 supports DC voltage from 17 to 160V, ideal as a battery bank for backup use, or 90 to 264V AC voltage, to leverage redundancy to ensure sufficiency of power supply.
Hot-swappable design for power supply units and SSDs provides the field manageability for LEC-3340. These components can be replaced without shutting the system down. On the other hand, the USB 3.0 port comes with Key Lock.
For optimal operations, LEC-3340 comes with the option of HSR (High-availability Seamless Redundancy) and PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) module cards, compliant with IEC-62439. The cards ensure real-time redundancy and recovery in switchover in demanding applications. The protocols are independent while CPU loading is offset.