Communications for the Modern Grid

Presented by: Doug Houseman, Utility Modernization Lead, Burns and McDonnell

This series of recorded tutorials are now available for purchase on the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center. Scroll down for detailed session agendas.

Session prices vary based on IEEE membership. Each 80-minute session will be available for streaming for 1 year from purchase date. In addition, CEUs/PDHs will be available for purchase. To see all recorded tutorials and corresponding slides, please visit the IEEE Smart Grid Resource Center’s Education tab.

This online tutorial will cover the following topics in each session: 

Session 1. What are the current and emerging requirements for communications?

  • Dispatch
  • Substations
  • Distribution
  • Physical Security
  • DER
  • IoT
  • Distributed Computing

Session 2. What are the classes of communications and how do I think about them ?

  • Field area networks (e.g. Mesh, Point to Multi-point, Cloud, etc.)
  • Private wireless networks (e.g. LTE, WiMax, micro-wave, etc.)
  • Public wireless networks (e.g. cellular, V-Sat, Micro-wave, etc.)
  • Wired networks (e.g. Fiber Optic, etc.)

Session 3. The big 4 issues – bandwidth, latency, security and reliability

  • How to determine bandwidth needs both now and in the future
  • How to determine latency requirements
  • How to think about security – it is not just encryption!
  • How to deal with reliability

Session 4. Considerations in communications network design, planning, operations and outage

  • Thinking about the 4 types of operation – blue sky, outage, recovery, firmware maintenance
  • Thinking about who is allowed on the utility network (e.g. do you put consumer owned equipment on the network directly?)
  • Physical considerations in communications design and planning (e.g. topology, weather, density of devices, etc.)
  • Playing in the unlicensed spectrum – lessons learned and how to think about the impact of sharing
  • The communications overlay of the grid – ghosts of communications outage on reliability and the impact of distributed computing
  • Hackers and why "fail useful" is critical
  • Other lessons learned



About the Presenter

Doug Houseman has been working in the industry for more than 40 years. He started working on Demand Response and DER issues in the 1980s. He is a senior member of PES, a NIST Fellow and the lead author of the Distribution Utility Technology Roadmap. He has worked with major utilities globally over the last 20 years. Doug currently serves as the Utility Modernization Lead for Burns & McDonnell.


Attendees will be eligible to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEU).