IP-based SCADA systems are becoming increasingly important to organisations across a range of sectors to enable more intelligent data-driven business decisions and utilise the performance, flexibility and cost savings on offer.
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) architecture allows users to monitor and control various functions and processes remotely. SCADA works over a communications network exercising control of a wide range of remote terminal units (RTUs) and programmable logic circuits (PLCs). Such systems are used extensively across the nation’s critical national infrastructure, distribution network operators (DNOs) in gas and electricity supply, water supply operations, wind farms and other applications.
MMX supports clients with design, build, migration and management of SCADA solutions made for the 21st century. We are specialists in creating resilient hybrid solutions that support the current and future demands of our customers and allow users to take advantage of the tremendous cost savings and value-added services offered today.
- VHF / UHF
- Switches, routers, gateways
Analogue vs. IP-enabled
Traditional analogue based SCADA systems have existed for years and have little in the way of networking features. While they do an excellent job of polling RTUs at substations and controlling switchgear, they offer limited networking flexibility.
Today’s SCADA systems are far more network-enabled than their predecessors and, when coupled with IP-enabled networks, provide opportunities to take advantage of the convergence of many different network types (e.g. voice, data, physical security and control signals). These IP-based SCADA systems, also referred to as fourth-generation SCADA systems enable users to access data from various platforms remotely.
How IP-based SCADA systems transmit data
- Measuring components in the form of sensors collect data from parts of the industrial system.
- Remote Terminal Units (RTU) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) converts this data into an understandable format, also known as Human Machine Interface (HMI) data.
- HMI data is then transferred through a communication network (in the form of radio and cellular satellites) to become understandable by maintenance personnel.
- This data is transmitted to the SCADA system, visible to analyse and react.
Ensuring secure SCADA solutions
With IP-based communications comes an increased level of security risk. It is important that systems are assessed for resilience against cyberattacks and vulnerabilities. Appropriate measures need to be taken in the design and management of any such system to avoid risk and follow best practise.
MMX work with many clients, including the Ministry of Defence and other critical national infrastructure organisations, where security is a primary concern. This arms us with exceptional experience in providing premium and protected systems. Be sure that you’re working with a company you can trust, like MMX Communications.
Our work is guided by the government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), and we fully comply with the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive). We also abide by the industrial cyber security standards: ISA/IEC 62443 for SCADA and Industrial Control System security which have been endorsed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
SCADA systems for the utilities industry
Modern SCADA systems play a key role in the utilities industry, mainly for companies who need to control physical assets as well as support telecom infrastructure online. For example, IP-enabled SCADA systems are playing a huge role in securing reliable electric Smart Grids.
The real-time data that these SCADA systems collect allows for more efficient analysis of electrical power consumption. In addition, it enables utilities operators to be proactive in problem detection. Making real-time strategic decisions based on the data will reduce system down-time and prevent future issues, leading to cost reductions, increased revenues and customer satisfaction.
MMX provides telemetry and SCADA solutions to the UK and Ireland’s water and power utility operators. We design and implement solutions using VHF and UHF products, a comprehensive range of radio modem products, ideal for use in point-to-point data links or in point-to-multipoint applications.
Using industry-leading software, MMX’s team of engineers provide both high- and low-level design (including testing), upgrades and maintenance of SCADA IP-based networks, providing users with real-time data analysis for up-to-the-minute information on their critical systems.
Want to learn more about our SCADA management solutions? Please get in touch, the team will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.