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FishNet Security, an information security provider, has announced that it will donate, integrate and manage software-defined networking (SDN) equipment at a new smart grid lab at Kansas State University. According to FishNet, the lab will be one of the first such facilities in the world to test the ways that SDN technology can be used to more efficiently manage, distribute, use and secure electrical power.

Power grid and network communication equipment will reside in the lab, which is being operated through the university's department of electrical and computer engineering. The initiative will support undergraduate and graduate student projects and will further opportunities for internships and future employment opportunities for Kansas State University students in the power field.

The increase in intelligent devices on power grids has increased communications traffic on electrical smart grids. This increase can create delays, security vulnerabilities and breaches, data losses, dropped packets, network overloads, equipment failures and subsequent power losses. FishNet says SDN shows promise in countering these problems because of its ability to control traffic outside the typical "switch fabric" commonly used today.

"Kansas State University looks forward to working with FishNet Security and our other lab partners to see the role that SDN can play in improving our country's electrical grid," says Noel Schulz, the College of Engineering's associate dean for research at Kansas State University and the director of the smart grid laboratory. "Another benefit is that our students will get to see first-hand how SDN might be used to deliver power in a more economical, secure and environmentally friendly way."

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