Thursday, March 23, 2017

ASCII Text, XML, SCL, Models, and Errors All Over

IEC 61850 makes use of ASCII text, XML, SCL, and comprehensive Information Models. At any level you may find errors. How to figure out, e.g., if a DataSet member references a FCDA that is not available in any Logical Node model?

I run through the following inconsistency:
There is a DOType "SPG_0" defined that contains a fc="SP"(bottom).
The DO "SetPt19" uses this DOType with fc="SP" (above)
The marked DataSet member FCDA refers to DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST".

This reference is not correct - there is no DO "SetPt19" with fc="ST" !! How does a stack react when it has to parse such a wrong model? Hmm!

It took me some time to figure out what the issue was when I loaded the file onto a HMS Gateway with WEB-PLC:

In the meantime I have checked the wrong file with six (well known) IEC 61850 tools - NONE of them complained about this inconsistency.
The SystemCorp stack complained, because it was not able to find the referenced object to implement the model! WOW!

This example confirms what I always tell people in my courses: Develop your own simple tools for finding errors in the "ASCII Text" - it is just a simple search you need ... I am not saying that the many tools on the market are useless!! No way! But many simple checks could be done with simple tools. Even tool developer may not have a clue what kind of checks would be helpful.
In this case it would have been quite easy to check (ASCII search and comparison) all members of all DataSets and check in the Logical Node models if there is a DataObject that matches with the reference in the DataSet. Such a ASCII text search would have resulted in something like: Did not find an fc="ST" for the object "SetPt19".

It is that easy! Believe me.

My experiences with this and many other issues are one of the core topics in my courses.
Click HERE for courses in German in Karlsruhe/Germany.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GridEx: The Smart Tool to Test Your IEC 61850 Network

FMTP (From Minus to Plus, Sweden) has gained a lot of positive feedback from experts using the GridEx Tool around the globe. GridEx built-in intelligence based on 30 years combined field experience in Protection Control with IEC 61850.

The new Test Tool looks very ruggedized:

The standalone tool provides many very crucial functions for simplifying the test and operation of automation systems based on IEC 61850. Here is one example function:

Click HERE for more details on the GridEx.

CD published: Conformance Test Cases for the IEC 62351-5

IEC TC 57 just published a 110 page crucial document on security testing (57/1852/CD):

IEC TS 62351 - Data and communications security -
Part 100-1: Conformance test cases for the IEC 62351-5 and its companion standards for secure data exchange communication interfaces

Comments are welcome by 2017-06-09

The scope is to specify common available procedures and definitions for conformance and/or interoperability testing of the IEC/TS 62351-5 (Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives), the IEC/TS 60870-5-7 and also their recommendations over the IEC 62351-3 for profiles including TCP/IP. These are the security extensions for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives to enable unambiguous and standardised evaluation of IEC/TS 62351-5 and its companion standards protocol implementations.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BIG Data, Smart Data, or Fake Data

Do you trust the process data you rely on for decisions to be made for many different applications? Hmm! It may be - I hope you could trust the data.

BBC just published a crucial paper with the title:
"How fake data could lead to failed crops and other woes"

Click HERE for the paper.

I guess this has been said many times - not yet by everybody.
What is most important: You have to do something to protect the data you (or your device) produce - so that the receiver can trust that the data are not FAKE data.

Maybe we extend the quality details defined in IEC 61850-7-3:
fake (extended)

I am kidding ... sure.

Do you know that IEC 61850 does not define any measure to protect the data while they are on rest or travel? It's true - no crucial definitions on security. This is intended.
The series IEC 62351 defines many very crucial measures and describes how to apply them to power systems and IEC 61850 refers to IEC 62351:
IEC/TS 62351 - Power systems management and associated information exchange - Data and communications security:
Part 1: Introduction to security issues
Part 2: Glossary of terms
Part 3: Profiles Including TCP/IP
Part 4: Security for profiles including MMS
Part 5: Security for IEC 60870-5 and derivatives
Part 6: Security for IEC 61850 profiles
Part 7: Objects for Network Management
Part 8: Role-Based Access Control
Part 9: Key Management
Part 10: Security Architecture
Part 11: Security for XML Files
Part 12: Resilience and Security Recommendations for Power Systems with DER
Part 13: Guidelines on what security topics should be covered in standards and specifications

Check an overview from part 13:

Click HERE for the source of published parts of IEC 62351.
An excellent source of hints in German can be found at GAI NetConsult (Berlin).

You should do more than buying and reading the various parts of IEC 62351 - You should implement many of the crucial measures defined in these documents,

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Who can tell you what IEC 61850 really is?

Has ever someone learned what IEC 61850 really provides
from product presentations of vendors? Maybe to some extent?

How do people understand and learn what the standard series IEC 61850 really offers to the protection, automation and supervision of energy systems and what this all means for their application (as vendor, user, consultant, ...)?
A bit by reading power point presentations and papers ... and listen to presentations ... and to some extent by attending presentations and hands-on exercises conducted by equipment and tool vendors.
Is this enough?
If you are happy with the products - without understanding how far IEC 61850 is really implemented - then you could go and ... quite often at the end of the day you may learn that you got far to less

or far too much compared to what the standard would provide for your needs:

You need more vendor-independent information and experience from long-term experts like Andrea Bonetti (FMTP) or Karlheinz Schwarz (SCC). Sure, any demonstration or hands-on exercise of any IEC 61850 feature requires products like the great IEDScout of Omicron or ... BUT: the products implement just a fraction of what IEC 61850 is all about.
If you want to learn the Philosophy of IEC 61850 and compare it with the many different other approaches like IEC 60870-5-104, or other products, then you need independent information and experience. And finally you need to understand how the product X of vendor A compares to the product Y from vendor B.
To meet two of the most experienced experts and discuss with them your needs, doubts and complains, ... please register for the next training courses in Stockholm next week or in Karlsruhe in May.
Click HERE for the details of seminars in German.
Click HERE for the courses in English.
See you soon.
After the education of more than 4,000 attendees I know what people need ... and what they get by vendor-driven "education".

Saturday, March 4, 2017

XMPP, XML, and MMS: Two New TC 57 CDVs available for Public Comments

IEC TC 57 has published the following two CDV documents and allows you access to them:

IEC 61850-8-1/AMD1 ED2: Amendment 1 - Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-1: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mappings to MMS (ISO 9506-1 and ISO 9506-2) and to ISO/IEC 8802-3

IEC 61850-8-2 ED1: Communication networks and systems for power utility automation - Part 8-2: Specific communication service mapping (SCSM) -
Mapping to Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol (XMPP) 
You can study these two documents and provide comments.
Click HERE for the access (need to register only).
XMPP is used here to transport the XML message payloads between IEC 61850 server and client. The main contents of the messages are MMS messages (defined in ASN.1) and encoded with ASN.1 XER (XML encoding rule) - instead of ASN.1 BER (basic encoding rule). 
Example (excerpt):
Quite interesting. Most of what you have understood of MMS (subset used in IEC 61850-8-1) is applicable for 8-2 as well.
Click HERE for an introduction to ASN.1 and a discussion of why we need encoding rules.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IEC TC 57 and WG 10 in Figures

IEC TC 57 Working Group 10 "Power system IED communication and associated data models" met last week in Geneva (Switzerland) at the IEC central office.
Mr. Charles Jacquemart (IEC Technical Officer) presented some very interesting figures about the TC 57 and especially WG 10. The following slides are published here with the permission of Mr. Jacquemart.

TC 57 History:

Crucial Publications:

Various TC 57 Working Groups (250 members in WG 10!!):

IEC TC 57 WG 10 is the LARGEST WG in the whole IEC!!

Sales of IEC 61850 standards:

You are right, IEC 61850 is one of the most crucial standard series in IEC and also in the market of power systems!
More to come!