The smart grid (SG) approach is based on a strong interaction between the network communication infrastructure and the power grid. Usually the management of the infrastructure is done by the distribution system operators (DSOs) that are worried about the increasing managing complexity due to the presence of increasing number of distributed energy resources and electrical vehicles. The use of software-defined networking (SDN) may simplify the network configuration and management for DSO, as highlighted from previous research works. The objective of this paper is to introduce and characterize an internet protocol (IP)-based communication architecture with specialized SDN bridges operating also over narrowband power line communication (PLC) to reach the last mile applications (e.g., smart meters and inverters). The feasibility of this approach depends on the communication performance of the supervisory level used to dynamically configure the SDN bridges. The characterization of this level is done using the following performance indicators: the round trip time (RTT), the packet loss (PL) ratio, and the actual IP throughput. The experimental results show the feasibility of the proposed architecture, since the limitations are given only by the physical implementation of the PLC modem. In detail, results of the case study show that the minimum RTT is on the order of 30 ms, the PL ratio is always less than 1.7% and the maximum throughput is of 95 Mbit/s, fully compatible with the requirements of the applications.
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering