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Meeting NERC Requirements for Back-up Control Centers

Utilities across the country require highly reliable networks. Continuous communications are critical to a safe and reliable power delivery system. This means high availability and redundancy – from self-healing SONET rings to hot-standby microwave to dual-port channel banks. Utilities build carrier-grade networks.

New standards from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) require the addition of back-up control centers for transmission operators, balancing authorities and control area to ensure bullet-proof reliability through redundancy. Back-up control center communications with substations and RTUs must be completely independent from communications with a primary control center. This requirement presents a unique challenge for utilities: having the same circuits appear in two places at the same time.

Many utilities are addressing this challenge through DS0 bridging. Bridging provides the ability to have the same circuit appear at both the primary and back-up control centers.

Sycamore Networks Signaling Processing System 1000 (SPS-1000) provides flexible digital voice and data bridging. Designed for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and telemetry applications, the SPS-1000 serves as a building block for a variety of bridging applications that are no longer adequately supported by alternative solutions due to high cost or product obsolescence.

To enhance these bridging capabilities, utilities are also deploying Sycamore Networks Digital Network Exchange digital cross-connect systems (DNX) in conjunction with the SPS-1000 to groom and bridge DS0 circuits. Grooming and bridging circuits at strategic edge locations increases network utilization and flexibility and answers the challenge of having the same circuits appear in two places at the same time.

Both the DNX and SPS-1000 are easily managed using the Envision GUI for systems wide map viewing, device configuration and diagnostics, event and alarm and fault management diagnostics.


In this application circuitry from outlying substations are transported to a hub location. DS0 circuits are bridged in the SPS-1000 and groomed within the DNX to maximized DS1 payloads.

Grooming and bridging circuits at edge locations ensures that the loss of a bridging location does not affect the entire network. Grooming circuits at the edge improves utilization within the core network.

Use of the SPS-1000 and DNX platforms provide a flexible and cost effective way to meet the NERC requirements for back-up control center communications along with improved network utilization for utilities.

For more information on the Sycamore DNX platform click here.