Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another Discussion on IEC 61850 versus DNP3

For more than a decade there are discussions on “IEC 61850 versus DNP3”. I just saw a discussion which seems to be quite new.

These discussions happened in the field bus area for the last 20+ years – and still happen. They do not really help the industry. Hope we will not run into the same situation in the power utility domain as in the field bus war!

Click HERE for the full discussion. There are many aspects discussed in the paper … I just want to discuss one issue raised:

Excerpt: “In addition, IEC 61850’s major advantage—that holistic concept to solutions—is also a major disadvantage for training. It’s different from the old system, requiring “a rather steep learning curve,” Muschlitz said.
“Many people get depressed when the stack of 1,500 pages of IEC 61850 is put in front of them with the directive ‘learn this,’ ” he said.”

Hm? Why should somebody read 1,500 pages of general information and many technical details? Why? Any idea? For what reason?

Have you ever read the technical specification of the many RFCs for TCP and IP and the Ethernet standards? What most people need – in order to use these technologies – is to have a simple API (Application Programmer Interface) for their Application (e.g., Internet Browser).

The real challenge with IEC 61850 is, that – before you can exchange a single bit with a MMS message – you need the MMS server and MMS client AND a specific API (at least at the client side).

Why should you care about MMS and ASN.1? Just use the API and exchange your application data by reading, reporting, GOOSE, Logging, … DON’T read the many parts of the standard!! The price of the standards will definitely be lower than the cost for reading AND understanding them!!

By the way, how many people that successfully use DNP3 have read and understood all parts of the DNP3 specification (xxx pages)?? I guess most do not have read all the docs – I would get depressed to do so as well … and you?

One of the key issues is the availability of reasonable and easy to use APIs. See my discussion on an IEC 61850 API from the other day: Click HERE.

If I would have to read and understand all specifications applied for an Airbus A380 in order to fly on it from Frankfurt to Johannesburg – I would never get there! I would better ride my bike … ;-) … but then there are the many bridges I have to go over … and ferries … to study first their specification and check if they are safe … I better would stay at home.

Anyway, I have run many trainings on IEC 61850 – A one, two or three day training is much cheaper than buying, reading, and understanding all parts of the standard series. Reading and understanding may take several weeks and cause depressions.

Attending seminars prevents you from becoming depressed! Almost all people that attended our seminars were quite happy! Read what an attendee said: Click HERE.

I wish you a stress-less application of IEC 61850 and other standards!! Good luck!!

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