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We understand the importance of technology enablement

Everywhere you look everything is now smart. Smart grids, smart cities, smart motorways, the list is probably endless. These smart systems have a need in common, interconnectivity, and the protocol of choice is IP over ethernet.

Communication protocols in monitoring, control and instrumentation are wide and varied. However, smart technologies demand a move to an IP-enabled network succeeding many of these legacy connectivity protocols. Modern instrumentation equipment is being designed with IP in mind, but the existing quantity of legacy equipment in critical networks is countless. To mitigate this and obviate the need to immediately update control systems, interfaces are being produced to interface legacy equipment and IP networks.

Regionally deployed SCADA-controlled assets have been deployed using analogue scanning radio systems. For a major UK electricity utility, MMX has designed a new IP-based core OT network transitioning from a legacy analogue system to a new, secure IP network. With over 850 primary substations distributed across their OT network, scanning telemetry was the best solution for SCADA traffic between the control operations centre and each of the remote substations.

At the network edge, sophisticated digital scanning IP-based VHF/UHF radio systems were deployed. This provides highly secure bi-directional connectivity for monitoring and control of power assets in the region. The completion of this project was a prerequisite for the utility’s smart grid ambitions. Simultaneously the utility was also upgrading its remote terminal units (RTUs). So, the MMX-designed OT IP network had to not only manage traffic from new IP-based RTUs but also continue to transport analogue SCADA data from their old analogue equipment across and be ready for when these sites were upgraded to IP RTUs.

By its nature, VHF and UHF radio data throughputs are limited by bandwidth. Modern digital equipment and modulation schemes have allowed designers to eek more data out of limited bandwidth. As an example depending upon your regulators’ allocated bandwidths, gross data throughput can range from 42kbs to 1.7Mbs. The most common Ofcom allocated bandwidth is 25kHz which can give a gross throughput of 333kbs.

For security, we employ AES, tunnels, and TCP, they all add overhead to your data stream which reduces the gross data rate. By working with us, our engineers will take you through the complexities of designing modern systems.

Partnering with MMX will enable you to make more informed decisions about the best solution for your needs. To this end, we’ll analyse your current system(s) and business processes: what works, what doesn’t, and any gaps we can improve upon. As you’d expect, we’ll consider all aspects of the system for you, including data security.