Precise Timing Standard Partnership Supports Smart Grid, Advanced Networks

July 24, 2013
The IEEE 1588v2 timing protocol offers sub-microsecond synchronization for clocks in various substation and power delivery devices. Symmetricom has developed the SyncWorld Power Ecosystem Program to support it, and Belden’s GarrettCom brand has been accepted as a charter member.

The smart grid has brought about power technology advancements that are changing substation operations, resulting in power equipment and their data networks needing to shift from reactive control to proactive, real-time management control.

“The migration to packet-based networks to support advanced services requires architects to meet the strict timing and synchronization specifications defined by the standard bodies,” says Manish Gupta, vice president of marketing at Symmetricom.  “Whether you are deploying a 4G / LTE, carrier Ethernet or a Smart Grid, successful integration and interoperability are key to ensuring that… end-to-end deployments will maintain service continuity around the clock.”

To provide power transmission and distribution facilities the precision timing needed to operate and manage today’s smart grids, Symmetricom developed the SyncWorld Power Ecosystem Program. Belden Inc. announced that its GarrettCom brand has been accepted as a Charter Member in the program following successful demonstration of interoperability with Symmetricom’s SGC-1500 Smart Grid Clock.

GarrettCom’s 10-Series managed switches use IEEE 1588 to deliver a solution using delays of less than 50 nanoseconds, explains Carey Trost, Belden director of product line management.

IEEE 1588v2 is a breakthrough timing protocol that offers sub-microsecond synchronization for clocks in various substation and power delivery devices such as sensors and actuators over an Ethernet network, Trost says. The sub-microsecond timing accuracy of these substation-hardened switches exceeds the requirements of “next generation” IEC 61850-3 specifications, he adds. Timing features include master clock, boundary clock, and transparent clock.

“Sub-millisecond timing synchronization is critical for power suppliers as it enables the operator to reconstruct the sequence of events after an incident on the grid or to monitor smart grid performance to make adjustments and improvements,” Trost says. The 1588v2 protocol is important in IEC 61850 compliant systems where it supports seamless line switchovers and other sensitive events requiring precise timing.

“It is a critical component for allowing utilities to offer the precision timing required to support the control algorithms required for modern power management and delivery systems,” says Trost. “Increasing automation is likely to require synchronization at a rate in the tens of nanoseconds. It is incumbent upon equipment suppliers such as Belden and Symmetricom to develop, market and support the standards-based hardware and software required to maintain that level of precision.”

Symmetricom’s product offerings include atomic clocks, hydrogen masers, timescale systems, GPS instrumentation, synchronous supply units, standards-based clients and servers, performance measurement and management tools and embedded subsystems that generate, distribute and apply precise frequency and time. “We assist customers in over 90 countries to generate, distribute and apply time,” adds Gupta.

Symmetricom’s SyncWorld Ecosystem Program was created to enable interoperability, integration and cooperation among the vendors supporting power service providers’ advanced networking requirements. Its goal is to facilitate unified deployments of timing and synchronization in substation modernization and synchrophasor applications. Partners in the program include makers of network equipment and high capacity wireless transmission (microwave backhaul) for communication networks, as well as makers of semiconductors, oscillators, software, test equipment and other components that embed Symmetricom’s timing products.

“With Belden’s membership in the Symmetricom SyncWorld Ecosystem Program, our power transmission and distribution customers are assured that GarrettCom’s robust substation-hardened switches and Symmetricom's Grandmaster timing clock will interoperate seamlessly,” says Trost.

Photo info:

"Personalizing" the Smart Grid | Recognized in the 2008 Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition and a 2010 Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture award winner, Icelandic design firm Choi and Shine designed power line support towers that seem able to take the idea of “smart grid” to another level. “Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable,” says the company’s website. “These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylon-figures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity.”

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