html{display:none} Early installations prove the value of software-defined networking | Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Newsroom / Technical News / Early installations prove the value of software-defined networking

Early installations prove the value of software-defined networking

SEL released the first software-defined networking (SDN) solution specifically designed for electric utility substations in 2016. Now, operators at real-world installations are realizing the benefits of this new wired Ethernet technology.

Spectrum Solutions, Inc. (SSI) recently deployed an SEL SDN system for the U.S. Army. Owen Green, Systems Engineer at SSI, said there have been immediate benefits for SSI and the U.S. government. 

“For us, the ease of configuration, deployment, and management have saved a significant amount of time and money,” Green said. “The Army not only benefits from lower deployment and operating costs, but the deny-by-default policies increase the cybersecurity aspect on the network, which will save additional time and money during the accreditation process.”

Itaipu Binacional, an electricity generator in Brazil and Paraguay, applied an SEL SDN system at Itaipu Dam, the world’s second-largest hydroelectric facility. Itaipu Automation Engineer Hugo Larangeira Samaniego said they were delighted with the results, emphasizing the benefits of “traffic performance, fast failover in case of communication network failures . . . and tighter network security with deny-by-default access control.”

SEL SDN Solution
The SEL SDN system consists of the SEL-2740S Software-Defined Network Switch and the SEL-5056 Software-Defined Network Flow Controller. The SEL-5056 allows operational technology (OT) engineers to control the network by defining rules for packet flow, failure response, and privilege. The SEL-2740S switches implement these rules.

SDN Example System

By predefining backup paths, the SEL SDN system can reduce network failover times to less than 100 μs. SEL SDN also makes systems more cybersecure by eliminating attack-prone networking elements like MAC address tables, Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), and cast types. And, the SEL 5056 Flow Controller lets engineers test network implementations and validate configurations and contingencies prior to commissioning.

To learn more, visit the SEL SDN webpage.