Utility communication

Netcontrol has a strong track record of delivering modern, cyber‑secure communication solutions that support legacy serial devices.

A secure, reliable and cost­‑effective data communication network is the backbone of any modern remote control and telemetry system. The trend has long been from dedicated, fixed‑banwidth serial connections to flexible, multipurpose IP networks. To aid utilities in such modernization, Netcontrol has developed the secure All-IP concept. The products in Netcontrol’s Gateway family, however, are also designed to interface existing serial devices at substations, so that these can be used until the end of their economical life cycles but still be part of a modern automation system. In addition, Netcontrol offers its own private data radios for transmitting serially coded telemetry and remote control data over the air, along with other devices for wireless communication, which is sometimes the most efficient solution for remote sites.

Gateways and data concentrators

The Gateway Server and the Netcon GW502‑iM are designed for flexible and cyber‑secure data communication in today’s IP networks. Depending on the scale, either can be used as a gateway between substations and the central SCADA system – as the so‑called SCADA front end.

Both of these products run the reliable, resilient and secure Linux operating system. They come with built‑in VPN (virtual private network) and firewall functionality in order to secure the data traffic over the IP network and to the isolate the central SCADA network from it. In addition to pure IP routing, both can run the Netcon NFE communication software to handle conversions among a large number of standard and proprietary telecontrol protocols. Thus a large assortment of different vendors’ substation RTUs can be connected to the SCADA system. Crucial to the gateway role, both are easily duplicated for better fault tolerance.

Private data radio

The PDR 300 is Netcontrol’s new multipurpose radio modem for wireless serial‑data communication between remote sites and the master station.

Operating within separately licensed VHF/UHF frequency bands, the PDR 300 private data radio enables the remote monitoring and control of substations over a wide geographical area in a cost‑effective manner. This is thanks to its ability to forward messages to other radios in the network. Up to six such repeaters may be used between the radio first sending out the message and the last, most distant one along the path.

3G/4G

With the proper equipment and software, even the mobile 3G and 4G networks of commercial providers can be used to connect remote  stations and switching stations to the central SCADA system with no compromise in cyber security or reliability.

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