Groundwork laid for adoption of DNP3 protocol as new IEEE standard


Piscataway, NJ, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 14, 2010 – Work is underway for the formal recognition of the Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3), which is intended for smart grid and other applications in the energy and water sectors, as an IEEE standard, the organization has announced.

Designated as IEEE P1815™, the standard will promote interoperability across hundreds of operational systems with thousands of installed devices, as well as strengthening security protocols while maintaining compatibility with existing object models.

A multi-layered protocol, DNP3 is an extremely robust and flexible methodology for optimizing data transmission between mission critical devices in process automation settings. Most commonly found as an essential component in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, DNP3 facilitates communications between acquisition devices and control equipment.

Originally based upon standards set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee 57, Working Group 03, and further developed and maintained by the DNP3 Users Group, the protocol has been adapted to address new technologies and developments.

“DNP3 has proven to be a powerful and effective tool for streamlining and optimizing communications transmissions between central control systems and remote devices,” said H. Lee Smith, president of the DNP Users Group. “As we build and expand upon the firm foundation already laid, we expect IEEE P1815 to continue its successful trajectory, finding new and deeper relevance across a host of applications and industries.”

IEEE P1815 received Project Authorization Request (PAR) approval from IEEE’s Standards Board in early December 2009, greenlighting the project for further development. Led by the IEEE P1815 Work Group (WG), the standard’s continued development and expansion will be performed in collaboration with the DNP3 Users Group. The IEEE P1815 WG will evaluate proposed features and additions, integration of existing and emerging communications architectures, and increasing levels of interoperability between operational networks and device types. The joint IEEE P1815 WG/DNP team has also been tasked with the preservation of backwards compatibility to the devices already in service and the creation of data profiles in formats that can be mapped to IEC 61850 Object Models.

Additional areas of focus for the IEEE P1815 WG/DNP team is the completion of existing security protocols to address emerging cyber security threats and designing of new frameworks allowing the standard to be easily deployed in smart grid applications. With the increasing frequency of sophisticated cyber attacks, enhancing data and communications security is a top priority. As a result, the team will incorporate state-of-the-art security technologies within the standard in order to mitigate such threats.

As the standard is expected to play a significant role in the emerging smart grid, the IEEE P1815 WG/DNP team’s efforts will also center on the development of flexible, yet robust architecture designed to streamline deployment in smart grid applications.

The IEEE P1815 WG will continue the standard’s development through early 2010, with ratification targeted for mid-2010.