Infrastructure for Integration of Legacy Electrical Equipment into a Smart-Grid Using Wireless Sensor Networks

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Apr 24;18(5):1312. doi: 10.3390/s18051312.


At present, the standardisation of electrical equipment communications is on the rise. In particular, manufacturers are releasing equipment for the smart grid endowed with communication protocols such as DNP3, IEC 61850, and MODBUS. However, there are legacy equipment operating in the electricity distribution network that cannot communicate using any of these protocols. Thus, we propose an infrastructure to allow the integration of legacy electrical equipment to smart grids by using wireless sensor networks (WSNs). In this infrastructure, each legacy electrical device is connected to a sensor node, and the sink node runs a middleware that enables the integration of this device into a smart grid based on suitable communication protocols. This middleware performs tasks such as the translation of messages between the power substation control centre (PSCC) and electrical equipment in the smart grid. Moreover, the infrastructure satisfies certain requirements for communication between the electrical equipment and the PSCC, such as enhanced security, short response time, and automatic configuration. The paper’s contributions include a solution that enables electrical companies to integrate their legacy equipment into smart-grid networks relying on any of the above mentioned communication protocols. This integration will reduce the costs related to the modernisation of power substations.

Keywords: WSNS; middleware; real deployment; smart grid; smart metering; wireless sensor network.