Cisco announced the first offerings in its new Connected Grid portfolio of smart grid communications solutions that will help utilities more reliably and efficiently deliver electric power from generation facilities to businesses and homes, resulting in better energy management, as well as economic and environmental benefits.

The purpose-built, ruggedized routers and switches form a resilient, manageable and highly secure network solution for the substation to integrate Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications with the power grid for intelligent grid monitoring and control. These technologies build on existing Cisco Smart Grid offerings and represent the latest in the company’s efforts to deliver end-to-end solutions that help utility customers address grid reliability, industry compliance and operational expenses.

Facts / Highlights:

The Cisco 2010 Connected Grid Router (CGR 2010) and Cisco 2520 Connected Grid Switch (CGS 2520) are purpose-built for the most demanding utility substation environments.

They are designed specifically for the Smart Grid communications infrastructure and are the first in Cisco’s new Connected Grid portfolio, a family of products that will deliver highly secure, end-to-end and standards-based communications solutions for the smart grid from generation facilities to businesses and homes.

Together, the Cisco CGR 2010 and Cisco CGS 2520 form a secure communications infrastructure to capture and analyze information in near-real-time from multiple intelligent electronic devices in the substation. This helps utility operators better manage and maintain power transmission and distribution equipment, as well as increase the reliability of power delivery by quickly identifying, isolating, diagnosing and, at times, automatically repairing faults. This will also help utilities better integrate renewable energy into the grid.

The Cisco solution also extends network-based security and management policies to substations, supporting remote engineering access and proactive maintenance programs.

The products are based on Cisco IOS Software, an operating system that delivers high reliability and resiliency as well as multiple network services including support for supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, protocols.

Cisco IOS Software consolidates network security, quality of service and network segmentation on a common communications platform, delivering mission-critical reliability and reducing operational expenses.

Cisco’s Connected Grid products represent the latest in Cisco’s energy management offerings, which include Cisco EnergyWise and the Network Building Mediator.

Security and Industry Compliance:

The Cisco 2000 Series Connected Grid Routers and Cisco 2500 Series Connected Grid Switches offer a comprehensive cyber security solution.

The products include a rich set of network security features to help utilities comply with North American Electric Reliability Corp. / Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC/CIP) standards including: the Cisco Intrusion Prevention System, Cisco Network Access Control, Multiprotocol Label Switching, virtual private networks, firewalls, user/device identity and access control capability, all of which provide unparalleled protection and reliability to the grid.

Cisco also supports a complete portfolio of IP-based physical security solutions, such as physical access control to premise and video surveillance, ideal for NERC/CIP compliance.

The products meet or exceed IEEE 1613 and IEC61850-3 standards for utility substation environments, including the ability to withstand a broad range of temperatures, as well as extended protection against electrical surges and electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Smart Grid Impact:

The expansion of a global “smart grid” will bring substantial environmental benefits. According to the Smart 2020 Report by the Climate Group, implementation of smart grid technologies could globally reduce CO2e emissions by 2.03 gigatons. A recent report by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory predicts a 12 percent reduction in global energy and CO2 emissions if smart grid technologies are deployed.

The economic impact of a smart grid is estimated to be significant as well. The GridWise Alliance, of which Cisco is a member, estimates that smart grid incentives and investments will generate approximately 280,000 direct jobs across various categories.