Power utilities are increasingly dependent on the use of communication networks. These networks are evolving to be packet-based, rather than using conventional Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) technologies. Transporting current differential protection traffic over a packet network is especially challenging, due to the safety-critical nature of protection, the strict requirements for low delay and low asymmetrical delay, and the extensive use of legacy TDM-based protocols.
The paper titled "Application of MPLS-TP for transporting power system protection data" highlights the key technical characteristics of Multi-Protocol Label Switching-Transport Profile (MPLS-TP), and demonstrates its application for transporting current differential protection traffic. A real-time hardware-in-the-loop testing approach has been used to thoroughly validate the technologies in various configurations. It is demonstrated that MPLS-TP technologies can meet the requirements of current differential protection and other, less critical applications. In particular, it is shown that delay and asymmetrical delay can be controlled through the inherent use of bi-directional paths - even when "hitless" link redundancy is configured. The importance of appropriate traffic engineering, clocking schemes and circuit emulation methods is also demonstrated.