Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cost for IEC 61850 versus DNP3 or IEC 60870-5-104

Very often people ask me: "What is the cost for implementing of the protocols IEC 61850, DNP3 and IEC 60870-5-104? Isn't DNP3 cheaper?". First of all, IEC 61850 is much more than another protocol! IEC 61850 comprises communication services and protocols for SCADA and REAL-TIME applications. It offers metadata in the devices and self-description services, many information models and a very crucial System Configuration Language.

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If we compare the SCADA services and protocols, we can expect that the efforts to implement one or the other communication protocol is more or less the same - when we implement a subset in IEC 61850 that is functionally equivalent to DNP3 and 104.

The other features of IEC 61850 (Real-time services and protocols, self-description services, many information models, and System Configuration Language) are NOT defined in DNP3 and 104. So, what does it mean to state that it is easier and cheaper to implement DNP3 and 104 than IEC 61850? If we want compare them, we should state exactly, what we compare!

If we compare just the underlying services and protocols: all three solutions require TCP/IP, ... -> no real difference!

Lets look at the messaging: All three require to encode and decode a variety of messages and sequences ... may be slightly different.

The basic data types like Double-Point, Status, Time-Stamp, Quality, ... are more or less the same.

What else do we want to compare? The other features are defined in IEC 61850 only. Comparison means: IEC 61850 HAS them - the others don't HAVE them. That's it.

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