Software Defined Networking for Smart Grid Communications and Security Challenges
With the aim of empowering smarter energy usage and integration of renewable distributed energy resources (DERs), smart grid has been proposed as an evolution of the current power systems leveraging the most advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide an intelligent bi-directional electricity and communication network. Smart grid is a large-scale, heterogeneous, and distributed network, which poses many challenges to be overcome from communication networking to autonomous control and management. In recent years, the paradigm of software defined networking (SDN) has attracted much attention. It proposes a new concept of networking architecture which abstracts the control functionalities from the packet forwarding hardware (data plane) to an external software controller (control plane). This is extremely convenient for large data centers to cope with virtual machine networking in which virtual machines are created dynamically and move between different physical machines. Due to the controller being implemented as software and its programmatic interfaces to individual networking devices are exposed to other software applications, any network applications and services based on such an architecture can be more agile. Furthermore, application systems are enabled to be network-aware, which means that they are aware of the properties, requirements, and state of the network environment and can quickly adapt to changes in the network context. Therefore, SDN is perceived to have tremendous potential for utilization by the underlying communication infrastructure of the smart grid. With the advent of SDN, the interface between applications and networks will be greatly changed. Applications in smart grid will have a higher degree of network awareness which enables more dynamic interactions with the underlying network. In this paper, the challenges and security concerns are presented to explore the opportunities for SDN technology in smart grid communication.
KeywordsSmart grid Software defined networking Cyber security Cyber-physical system
Authors gratefully acknowledge the Central Power Research Institute, Bangalore, Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Technology, Bangalore, and ERNET India, Bangalore, for technical support provided by them.
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