IEEE delivers critical 1815 DNP3 standard

IEEE announced the ratification of its IEEE 1815 Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3) standard for electric power systems communications. The new standard, which improves device interoperability and strengthens security protocols, was fast-tracked for completion and was delivered in only seven months. Scheduled for final publication in July 2010, IEEE 1815 is expected to play a significant role in the development and deployment of Smart Grid technologies.

IEEE 1815 is a collaboratively developed, adaptable framework that is the groundwork for achieving greater device interoperability and security. The robust, multi-layered protocol specifies an agile, forward-looking architecture enabling better optimized and more secure information gathering, exchange, and use, particularly in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Expanding on widely used industry protocols, the comprehensive standard also preserves previous significant infrastructure investments by remaining backward compatible with existing object models, while incorporating emerging Smart Grid and other new technologies. Newly ratified as IEEE 1815, the protocols will benefit from the broad support, expertise, and resources that IEEE offers, providing a foundation for the continued deployment of Smart Grid technologies.

The accelerated deployment of Smart Grid technologies, as well as thousands of new and legacy device installations in process automation settings like the electric utility, energy, and water industries, dictated the need for IEEE 1815. IEEE, in conjunction with the DNP Users Group, fast-tracked the protocol’s continued development and approval. The standard passed rigorous evaluation by each organization before being submitted to a diverse pool of more than 100 IEEE balloters.

IEEE 1815 has also garnered strong backing from organizations and institutions like the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Its overall thoroughness in addressing rising interoperability and security challenges, its collaborative nature, and its potential as a cornerstone for the emerging Smart Grid won the institution’s support.

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