Not Quickly, Just in Time: Improving the Timeliness and Reliability of Control Traffic in Utility Networks

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Executive Summary

One important aspect of modern Critical Infrastructures (CI) like power grids is that the control of the physical processes (e.g., electricity transmission) is no longer done locally, but in a distributed way with SCADA/PCS systems. This distributed control is done over utility networks, typically wide-area IP networks that interconnect the CI facilities (e.g., transformation substations). This communication is critical because, if certain commands are not executed within certain time bounds, events with a severe socioeconomic impact may happen (e.g., blackouts). However, utility networks often do not ensure the required timeliness and reliability, especially when accidental or malicious faults occur.

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