Monday, February 12, 2024

Global Push for IEC 61850 - The vPAC Alliance for Virtual Protection Automation and Control

IEC 61850 is one of the crucial core components of the architecture of the Virtual Protection Automation and Control (vPAC) Alliance: "Driving standards-based, open, interoperable, and secure software-defined architecture to host protection, automation, and control solutions for power system substations." 

As of the membership list I accessed today 23 well known companies are involved in the alliance: ABB, Advantec, AEP, Black&Veatch, Crystal, Dell Technologies, ... SCE, ... Intel, ... Omicron, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric, Siemens Energy, ... 

This kind of alliances will make a chance in how to protect, automate, control, and supervise power systems ... and other system where power is a crucial factor ... like in factories, buildings, ... airports, ...

"A key plays the "virtual protection relay (VPR) concept [pdf document] – an architecture where software defined and virtualized platforms are deployed to host the critical circuit protection functions for an advanced and agile grid. ... 

Standard models of various protection functions were devised for possible interoperability between protection IEDs from any vendor. Standards were prepared for data exchange between devices (station bus) and current/voltage information from field (process bus). Acceptance of the IEC 61850 standards worldwide have resulted in station level and process level communication networks for exchange of digitized raw values (using Sampled Values, or SV, protocol) and processed values/information across the substation devices and beyond the substation to centralized monitoring systems. ..."

It is interesting that it took some 40 years from the definition of Virtual Manufacturing Devices (VMD) in ISO 9506 (MMS, Manufacturing Message Specification) until such a big alliance has the term "virtual" in its name! I have demonstrated on and on since the 80s that this is the future ... 

MMS defines Virtual Manufacturing Devices in clause 6 of part ISO 9506-1 as follows:

I have found in the automation domain that only a few engineers understand abstraction and virtualization. The following wise saying may help ... try it:

If it's there and you can see it It's REAL
If it's there and you can't see it It's TRANSPARENT
If it's not there and you can see it It's VIRTUAL
If it's not there and you can't see it It's GONE
Roy Wills

IEC 61850, IEC 61400-25 (Windpower), and IEC 60870-6 (TASE.2/ICCP) use MMS and the concepts of abstraction and virtualization ... I had a chance to describe these crucial basic concepts as editor of the first edition of IEC 61850-7-1 (Basic communication structure – Principles and models) ... here is what I have written ... some 20 years ago ... still in the current edition:

" ... The IEC 61850 series defines the information and information exchange in a way that it is independent of a concrete implementation (i.e., it uses abstract models). The standard also uses the concept of virtualisation. Virtualisation provides a view of those aspects of a real device that are of interest for the information exchange with other devices. Only those details that are required to provide interoperability of devices are defined in the IEC 61850 series. ..." 

I still like it.

It is great to see that this concept (defined in the 80s) is in the core of future protection, automation, and SCADA ... 

Let me know what you thing ... you find me on LinkedIn as well.

Good luck!

Monday, February 5, 2024

A New Sketch (Video) on the Introduction of Some Basics of IEC 61850 has been Published

In order to give support in learning what IEC 61850 is about, I have produced a 32 minute video (182 MB) for free access. 

This video is one of the easiest ways to understand some basics of IEC 61850 ... you will agree once you finished it ...

I have trained some 4,500 attendees all over the world ... this video takes into account my experience in training these people ...

Click HERE to access the video.

I will continue to produce more sketches (videos) and make them available through Screencast.

I look forward for your feedback.


IEC Opens the Glossaries and Other Contents of Published Standards and Specifications

IEC has opened their databases with the myriad of abbreviations and terms used in the published material. If you want to know what an IED is, just search for IED on the landing page ... 

Here are two examples for the search in the Glossaries and in the publications:


Thanks to the IEC Central Office.

Cyber Security: Power Outages Caused by Animals

I just came about the following website that reports many serious "attacks" on the electric power grids:

It seems that animals are more serious "attackers" of the power grid than hackers ...

Fortunately researchers are "looking" beyond animals ... to humans ... 

Click HERE for information about a crucial R&D project at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology): "Weak point analysis in energy system protocols"

Saturday, February 3, 2024

IEC 62541 (OPC Unified Architecture) - 3 Additional CDVs published for commenting

IEC TC 65E just published 3 additional Committee Drafts for Vote (CDV) for commenting and voting ... also for public comments!

CDVs for circulation on 2024-02-02 also available in Public Commenting application: (

Here are the CDV documents published (official voting period closes April 26, 2024):

IEC 62541-3 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 3: Address Space Model

IEC 62541-5 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 5: Information Model

IEC 62541-6 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 6: Mappings

See also the other 21 CDVs out for comments.

Be aware that these documents are the basis to define domain specific information models like in IEC 61850: MMXU.PhV.phsA for voltage of phase A (L1) in a three phase AC power system or MMXU.Hz for representing the frequency ... 

I guess that a lot of the definitions published in the 24 CDVs will not be implemented in all devices and only a subset of the implemented definitions may be used.

After some 40 years involved in the IEC TC 65 (1982 - 2001), TC 57 (2002 - today), IEC TC 88 (2001 - today), and ISO TC 184 SC5 WG2 (MMS, 1984 - 2000) I am increasingly convinced that IEC 61850 has a lot of advantages compared to other standards ...

Monday, January 29, 2024

IEC 62541 (OPC Unified Architecture) - 21 CDVs published for commenting

Dear All,

IEC TC 65E just published 21 Committee Drafts for Vote (CDV) for commenting and voting ... also for public comments!

CDVs for circulation on 2024-01-26 also available in Public Commenting application: (

Here are the CDV documents published (official voting period closes April 19, 2024):

62541-1 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 1: Overview and Concepts

62541-2 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 2: Security Model

62541-4 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 4: Services

62541-7 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 7: Profiles

62541-8 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 8: Data Access

62541-9 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 9: Alarms and Conditions

62541-10 ED4: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 10: Programs

62541-11 ED3: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 11: Historical Access

62541-12 ED2: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 12: Discovery and global services

62541-13 ED3: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 13: Aggregates

62541-14 ED2: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 14: PubSub

62541-16 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 16: State Machines

62541-17 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 17: Alias Names

62541-18 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 18: Role-Based Security

62541-19 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 19: Dictionary Reference

62541-20 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 20: File Transfer

62541-21 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 21: Device Onboarding

62541-22 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 22: Base Network Model

62541-23 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 23: Common ReferenceTypes

62541-24 ED1: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 24: Scheduler

62541-100 ED2: OPC Unified Architecture - Part 100: Device Interface

It is a huge list of documents ...
I have looked through the docs and did not find any application domain specific semantic models like in IEC 61850 ... 
Hope you find some time to comment on these documents.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

The IEC 61850 Tissue Database reached 1900 Tissues

The IEC 61850 Tissue Database is a very useful tool to help improving the quality of the standard series. The first Tissue (#1) was posted almost 19 years ago. On December 12, 2023 the Tissue #1900 was posted. In average two Tissues per week have been posted. The Tissue process is accepted all over.

The other day I received a question on the definition of power factor (MMXU.PF). The definition is contained in the Logical Node class MMXU of part IEC 61850-7-4:

When I read the definition I was wondering that there was no definition of the sign of the PF. I thought that somebody must have found this long before me ... I checked the Tissue Database to find the corresponding Tissue ... which is #1721 (Power factor related data objects in LN MMXU) dated September 22, 2020.

The following figure depicts the corrected definition.

Recommendation: In case you belief you found an error in the standard series, check first the tissue database and search ... you may find the correct answer ...

Friday, December 8, 2023

Is National, Regional, and International Standardization Work Important?

The editor-in-chief of the well known German monthly technical magazine "atp - Automatisierungs-technische Praxis" publishes the "atp weekly" discussing this and that. This week he discussed if the various user groups and other interest groups in the process industry (NAMUR, IGR, and VCI) are important for the national, regional, and international standardization. The resume is: Yes it is!

The weekly lists several examples. In the third example he reports that the review and comments of the three above mentioned organizations on a single German draft standard has the potential of savings of 80 Million Euro!! 

Click HERE for the weekly archive (in German only) ... accessible for 6 months.

Not to be involved in the standardization is more expensive than spending time and money to participate and discuss what is needed and what should not be specified in a standard. Less is sometime MORE!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Default Passwords May Cause Some Issues - Change Them As Soon As Possible

 A friend of mine reported the following in a SCADA and cyber-security related group:

"The recent cyber-attack on that small water facility outside of Pittsburg is getting increased attention (certainly on this list) . The model and manufacturer of the device in question are known.  The manufacturer's web site has some  documentation on the device, but I do not think they provide the  device's default password.

No need to look hard, it is listed in plain site on CISA's bulletin (below)."

Exploitation of Unitronics PLCs used in Water and Wastewater Systems Release Date November 28, 2023 


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Up-to-Date IEC 61850 Trial Tools Available From InfoTech (Poland)

Have you ever tried to send or receive messages according to IEC 61850 or IEC 61400-25: Operate, Report, Get, ... GOOSE, Sampled Values, ... try the following updated trial tools ... from InfoTech (Poland) 

Use of Sampled Value Publisher (Sender) according to IEC 61850-9-2LE:

Window for various parameter that can be modified and applied:

Wireshark trace of a SV message:

Access several presentations and the link for the trial versions:

Client/Server, GOOSE Sender & Receiver, SV Sender & Receiver

visualization on a flow diagram and on-line monitoring of GOOSE based on SCD file as input

Simulator of a network of server IEDs based on SCL files (ICD/CID/IID/SCD)  +  creator/editor of ICD

Overview of the Library which we license as source code or as derived binary DLLs for PC/MS Windows

This is the link to the trial version of all tools


Monday, November 27, 2023

Bundesnetzagentur fordert Steuerbarkeit von Wärmepumpen und E-Mobilen ab Januar 2024

Die Bundesnetzagentur hat heute mitgeteilt, wie ab dem 1. Januar 2024 steuerbare Verbrauchseinrichtungen (z.B. Wärmepumpen und Ladeeinrichtungen für E-Mobile) sicher und zügig in das Stromnetz integriert werden können.

"Die Bundesnetzagentur bittet die Netzbetreiber, gemeinsam mit anderen relevanten Markteilnehmern Empfehlungen für die Standardisierung und massengeschäftstaugliche Umsetzung der netzorientierten Steuerung auszuarbeiten. Das ist ein Beitrag zur effizienten Umsetzung der notwendigen Prozesse, aber keine Voraussetzung für deren Start."

Click hier, um zur Pressemitteilung der Bundesnetzagentur vom 27.11.2023 zu gelangen.

Die Bitte der Bundesnetzagentur wurde bereits vor etwa 10 Jahren von den Netzbetreibern und Herstellern von Steuerungssystemen im Voraus "gehört". Das Ergebnis der Lösung (FNN-Steuerbox mit IEC 61850 als Anwendungsschnittstelle) ist bereits heute verfügbar (siehe Lösung von Vivavis in Ettlingen).

Friday, November 24, 2023

IEC 61850 (MMS) Messages Traced with Wireshark, Local Host, and Loopback

Have you tried to trace some IEC 61850 (MMS) messages with Wireshark? 

Usually you expect to run Client and Server on different machines to have communication going through an Ethernet Network! Yes! No!

You could easily run the two on one PC and trace the traffic using Wireshark and select the TCP loopback adapter as the interface for Wireshark to look at !!! It is simple.

The address for the server is:

The Client and Server using the IEDScout 5.2 from Omicron:


Some Impressions From The MATPOST Conference 2023 in Lyon (France)

Andrea Bonetti has posted some impression from the "Digital Twin" world demonstrated at the conference.
Click HERE for the brief report.
What is the difference of a digital device and its twin? In the IEC 61850 domain, a IED (Intelligent Electronic Device) hosts a virtual IED (the models, services, bridges to the applications, ... applications). The host may be a protection device or any other computer platform that can run the software. Why do we talk about twins? We could have triplets or even quadruplets of the same virtual device ... when we run the software on three or four or more platforms.
A digital twin is a digital twin of a digital twin ... the crucial term here is: Virtual Device - this is what an IED in IEC 61850 is!
An IED in the IEC 61850 world could be:
  1. A configuration of an IED section in an SCL document
  2. An IED section of an SCL document hosted, e.g., in a relay or any other controller
  3. A physical relay installed in a cabinet
Note that this virtualization was applied in MMS (Manufacturing Message Specification, ISO 9506) and used in IEC 61850-8-1. In MMS the virtual IED was named VMD - Virtual Manufacturing Device ... some 40 years ago ... hahaha ...
The following may help you to understand what virtual means:
If it's there and you can see it      It's REAL
If it's there and you can't see it    It's TRANSPARENT
If it's not there and you can see it      It's VIRTUAL
If it's not there and you can't see it      It's GONE
Roy Wills
Any question?

Thursday, November 16, 2023

International Conference on Substation Equipment in Lyon (F); 22.-24. Nov 2023

Please note that the 7th European Conference on Substation Equipment (Matpost 2023) with the focus on 

Major infrastructure projects for a carbon-free world and their impact on Substation equipment 

will welcome you in Lyon (France) next week: 22.-24. November 2023.

Click HERE for the program.

There is also a paper presentation on IEC 61850 ... check the program.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

IEC 61850 Conformance Certification of IEC 61850 Core Documents with Ed2.0 About to End

Richard Schimmel (IEC 61850 Certification Manager at DNV ( former KEMA)) just reported a very crucial information at LinkedIn:

"IEC 61850 certification for Edition 2 will be phased out by the UCAiug. From January 2024 UCAiug will only allow new Edition 2 certificates after passing the Edition 2 with Amendment 1 (Ed2.1)!

If you want to certify IEC 61850 Edition 2, we (DNV) need to show the UCAiug that we received the purchase order before 1st January 2024."

Click HERE for the post a LinkedIn.

Be aware that Edition 2.1 refers just to the yellow marked core parts of IEC 61850 (see IEC 61850 Tissue Database):


Note that EACH part has its own Edition numbering ... there is no IEC 61850 Edition x at all!

The Tissue Database provides the tissues posted, discussed, and solved of the previous editions for each part. This gives you the possibility to see which comments let to a new edition. Comments to Edition 2.1 of the core parts will finally lead to Edition 3.0 of these parts ... Edition 2.1 of the core parts will be valid for the next years ... this is my personal expectation.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

IEC 61850 Integration Into Beckhoff PLC

Beckhoff - a well known German PLC manufacturer - successfully offers IEC 61850 modelling, configuration, and information exchange for IEC 61850 and IEC 61400-25. 

Excerpt from their website ... worth to read:

"Application example: 

In this case, the use of IEC 61400-25 [mapping according to IEC 61400-25-4 IEC 61850-8-1, MMS] enables all wind turbines from different manufacturers in a wind farm to communicate with a central station.

Standardization avoids the use of vendor-specific protocols, which would lead to increased application expenditure. BECKHOFF supports this method with the implementation of IEC 61850 or IEC 61400-25 respectively in the TwinCAT Automation suite."

Beckhoff has a very nice and easy to read (and understand) online documentation.

Click HERE (English) and HERE (Deutsch) to find the details of the implementation of Client, Server, GOOSE Publisher and Subscriber.

Just give it a try.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Are IEC 61850 based Systems Cyber-Secure?

Often you hear arguments that IEC 61850 based systems are not cyber-secure ... is that true?

The truth is: The standards series IEC 61850 refers to the standard series IEC 62351. Example:

Power Systems Management and Associated Information Exchange – Communication network and system security – Part 4: Profiles including MMS and derivatives

IEC 61850-8-1 (Mapping to MMS) requires to use TLS ... as defined in IEC 62351-6 !!

Click HERE to access the preview of IEC 61850-8-1 (referring to IEC 62351) and HERE for the preview of IEC 62351-6.

Another issue to protect your IEC 61850 based system is to monitor the traffic and compare it with the configured communication relations and contents:

Click HERE to watch a brief video from Omicron that shows some means to support cyber-security in IEC 61850 based systems. 

There is a lot of activities going on to increase the cyber-security in automation systems.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

New Book on IEC 61850

Please note that there is a quite new book (400+ pages) about IEC 61850 for electric power systems:

IEC 61850 Principles and Applications to Electric Power Systems

Editors: Peter Bishop, Nirmal-Kumar C. Nair

Click HERE for details.
The basic approach of the IEC 61850 standard series is to some degree independent of electric power systems and applicable in most automation domains.
Example: Monitoring of a process measurement
The following sketch shows an excerpt of a series of presentations I conducted recently.
A instantaneous measurement (in IEC 61850 xxxx.instMag) can be read at any time by some computer (on the left). The value could come with a quality information saying: Value is ok; and a timestamp.
Instead of polling the value, you may want to receive the value every 10 seconds automatically without polling. Next you may want to receive the value when it changes by +/- 10 % compared to the last reported value. Or you may want to receive a report in case the quality of the value changes from good to bad ... and so on.
IEC 61850 information exchange services for monitoring process values offer many additional possibilities to receive spontaneously sent information. The information to be sent can represent measurements you find in building automation, heating systems, diesel generators, pressure systems, car manufactoriing, ...
Click HERE for papers co-written by Nirmal-Kumar C. Nair (co-author of the new book) and myself (Karlheinz Schwarz). You will be surprised what we published more than 10 years ago! (some papers may not easily be accessible! ... sorry for that).
Stay tuned to the blog to see more on this in the future.