html{display:none} COM 401: Data Communications Fundamentals | Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

COM 401: Data Communications Fundamentals

PDHs: 30

Course Base Fees: $2,400*
* Plus Applicable Tax


Course Information

This is a four-day course. 

Course Base Fees: $2,400 USD

COM 401 covers fundamental principles and usage of serial, radio, and Ethernet data communications employed in industrial and utility power systems. The course also covers fundamentals of major utility protocols, including DNP3, Modbus, Mirrored Bits communications, IEC 61850 GOOSE, and IEC 61850 MMS.

You will learn the terminology, concepts, and other information necessary to be knowledgeable in data communications. You will also learn the basic guidelines for the design, integration, and use of data communications equipment, protocols, and systems.

Please note that this is not a hands-on course; any exercises are performed either with pen and paper or as part of the class discussion. To gain hands-on experience with the course topics, refer to the Related Courses section below.


COM 401 is designed for engineers in protection, automation, systems integration, and communications and for consultants who specify, design, test, or use communications systems in operational technology (OT) applications. 


Day 1

  • Communications Fundamentals
  • Modulation Techniques
  • Communications Media*
  • Traditional Applications
  • Data Communications*
  • Data Transmission

Day 2

  • Introduction to Message Switching
  • Geographical Classification
  • Network Architectures*
  • Ethernet Communication Fundamentals*
  • Software-Defined Networks
  • Precision Time Protocol

Day 3

  • Introduction to Protocols: SCADA Communications*
  • Introduction to Protocols: Other Communications
  • Introduction to SEL Protocols
  • Applications Using Mirrored Bits

Day 4

  • DNP3 Protocol*
  • IEC 61850 Overview
  • IEC 61850 GOOSE Messaging*
  • IEC 61850 Digital Secondary Systems
  • Glossary

*Includes an exercise

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, students can:

  • Define the purpose of system integration and communications-assisted applications.
  • Describe IED data contents, data integration, and data consumers.
  • Identify device communications methods and topologies.
  • Define common communications protocols, including IEC 61850, Modbus, and DNP3.
  • Distinguish between serial and Ethernet networks.
  • Identify SEL best practices in configuring device communications.
  • Identify the advantages of networking multiple IEDs together.

Student Background and Knowledge

Before you attend this class, we recommend that you have a degree in electrical engineering or information technology or equivalent experience in data communications.

Related Courses

For hands-on experience with data communication protocols and equipment, please consider the following courses:

Available Courses

Request onsite training for your company.

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Course Preparation

Digital course materials: A link to download the digital course materials will be sent via email 2 weeks prior to the course.

Additional information is on the Course Policies and FAQ pages.