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Alstom Grid and Cisco have signed a commercial and technology agreement to develop a digital substation solution for electrical grids.

The solution - which integrates Cisco's ruggedized substation-grade Connected Grid routers and switches with Alstom's DS Agile control system for substation automation - aims to create a new level of Internet Protocol-based communication performance for integrated cybersecurity, distributed monitoring and controls.

According to the companies, the new solution offers the following benefits to electric utilities and substation operators:

Enhanced security in smart-grid-enabled digital substations: The Alstom-Cisco solution can enable utility operators to provide protection to address security policies, manage user access to resources, and detect and mitigate possible cyber attacks across the entire grid infrastructure. The digital substation architecture incorporates security controls based on NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) recommendations.

Operational efficiency through automation architecture: This layered architectural approach can provide optimal deployment for substation automation and the design phase of technology implementation. The intelligence within the validated digital substation schemes can allow close monitoring of the load capacity of plant equipment and permits operation of grid equipment closer to its limits, the companies add. Additionally, the substation network supports existing and new communication standards such as IEC 61850, as well as the prioritization of control data traffic over non-operations data traffic.

Reduced operations and maintenance costs: The digital substation solution, based on Cisco’s multi-service network and Alstom’s next generation IEDs, will provide utilities the flexibility to deploy multiple applications over a common network infrastructure. The solution uses a layered architecture approach, enabling it to support both wired and wireless communications over the same converged network.



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