Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Cyber Operations


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth M. Hopkinson, PhD


This thesis demonstrates the benefits of utility communication based on Internet technology, some dangers in using Internet technology in establishing a utility intranet connecting protection and control systems, and compares three different approaches to making reservations for routing traffic in the utility intranet based on different levels of background traffic. A model of expected background traffic on a national utility intranet is presented. The Utility Communication Architecture 2.0 and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850 began laying the groundwork in 2002 in establishing an infrastructure allowing power substations, program logic controllers, remote terminal units, intelligent electronic devices, and other devices to effectively and efficiently communicate over a utility intranet that is based on Internet standards using commercial of the shelf (COTS) components. This intranet will almost certainly be based on Internet standards due to their widespread use, low cost, and easy migration path over time. Even though it’s based on Internet technology the utility intranet will allow utilities to connect to one another without exposing them to threats from the Internet. This will provide utilities with the needed insight into other areas of the power grid enabling them to better manage its operation. The Electrical Power Communication Synchronization Simulator (EPOCHS) is used in this thesis to run simulations that models network traffic over a power infrastructure in order to show the effects of using different protocols, bandwidth reservations, and varying levels of background traffic will have on the quality of service of intranet traffic, with the end result of improving the insight the different regions of the utility intranet will have with each other. EPOCHS provides the required simulation environment needed to integrate a network simulator with an electromechanical power simulator to run the simulations. This research discusses the benefits of utility communication, the likely pitfalls in the use of Internet technology for protection and control systems, and technologies that can help mitigate those pitfalls. A total of 48 different simulation configurations are performed based on background traffic, reservation type, IP transport protocols, and routing scheme used to determine which configuration is best suited for use on a utility intranet.

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