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Network management systems crucial for utilities

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, August 17, 2012

North America's electric infrastructure is in the midst of a revolutionary change, in which utilities are reorganizing themselves to no longer manage specific functions, but are instead acting as a part of a comprehensive network of systems that make up the smart grid.

According to Fierce Smart Grid, this transformation will force utilities to bring down the walls that exist between various departments that will allow information to be spread throughout the company. With smart grid technologies being deployed at a higher rate than ever, utilities will need to implement a network management system that allows them to make the best use of the huge amount of data derived from these technologies.

This data will come from many intelligent electronic devices that are deployed throughout a company's electric infrastructure, and although the data holds great promise for companies, taking on such a task will require a new group of software and products just to put this data to use. This will occur as new communications platforms also enter the bulk power system, as the need to share information between programs will be crucial.

All of these installations will occur as grid operators begin to use the information in real time to identify and alleviate issues in the grid before they can do widespread damage to the electric system. This need has led to a number of new regulations that touch on fault detection and interoperability - both of which federal agencies say are some of biggest hindrances to large scale adoption of smart grid technologies.

All of this together will drive a need for a network management system that can stay on top of millions of IEDs across several networks that are connected to the grid. If such a system is developed and implemented properly, grid operators will be able to better maintain the grid, use correlation methods to predict future problems, isolate faults and address any issues. With the number of disparate IEDs growing, ensuring compatibility will likely be at the forefront of creating a strong network management system, the media outlet stated.

SUBNET products and software have been instrumental in helping utilities develop such plans, as their solutions cover the most critical aspects of smart grid deployments. In addition to improving communication between all substations and remotely collecting IED data, utilities can use SUBNET products to adhere to strict NERC CIP standards, which, if violated, can come with hefty fines. 

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