ICON VSN: The Best of Both Worlds

Converge IT/OT networks without sacrificing electric utility protection scheme performance.

Converged networks optimize costs and streamline network management. However, electric utility protection engineers often have to sacrifice using their high-speed communications-assisted protection schemes. The ICON Integrated Communications Optical Network with virtual synchronous networking (VSN) solves this challenge so that information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) traffic both get the benefits of being part of a converged network.

When 1 ms is Too Slow

There’s a lot happening in a converged packet network, from buffering to packet delays to jitter across the network. These cause significant increases in latency, asymmetry, and failover times, which means you can say goodbye to running superior protection schemes like line current differential.

ICON VSN is a breakthrough technology because it preserves deterministic time-division multiplexing (TDM) performance over packet transport with under 1 ms latency, which is good news for protection traffic. This means OT traffic can more effectively traverse the core network, guaranteeing critical protection messages always arrive at their destination—on time. And, ICON VSN works with any packet technology you’ve adopted in your core IT network (including Carrier Ethernet or Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS]).

How Does It Work?

ICON VSN maintains the synchronous network operation that SONET and TDM systems deliver. Instead of packetizing at the DSO level, ICON VSN packetizes at increments of an STS and passes the packets through an Ethernet engine. Then, on the transport side, ICON VSN uses an innovative method of generating regularly spaced Ethernet packets, each with embedded time information and packetized TDM data, to ensure the low-latency, synchronous delivery of native serial or Ethernet data.

This combination of efficient packetization and regularly spaced transport is what preserves TDM performance over a packet-based network. And this capability is only possible with ICON VSN technology.

Bandwidth—Do More With Less

With the increased traffic inherent in a converged network, you’ll need appropriate bandwidth allocation for each circuit.

Without ICON VSN, you might have to provision 20 Mbps for ten IEEE C37.94 circuits. However, with ICON VSN, you’ll only need 2.1 Mbps for the same ten IEEE C37.94 circuits. This kind of efficiency makes it easier to allocate the necessary bandwidth for all your applications.

Streamline Configuration

When passing protection traffic across the core network, it’s important to configure the proper quality of service (QoS) setting to ensure protection is given the highest priority.

Without ICON VSN, you need to individually configure a QoS setting for each protection circuit. With ICON VSN, you can configure the QoS settings for all your critical protection circuits in just one step, saving you time and ensuring consistency.

Questions? Contact Us!

If you have any questions about SEL products, services, solutions, or support, please contact us. Our service and support professionals are ready to provide the answers you need.

Unbeatable Support

SEL support teams are stationed in regional offices around the world and staffed with application engineers who are experts in our products and in power system applications.

Technical support for SEL-manufactured devices is always free. No matter how often you need to call or how long your SEL products have been in service, you’ll reach an SEL expert who can provide the service and support you need.

Our cybersecurity team is always ready with the information and resources needed to keep your OT networks and critical systems secure and working effectively. Cyber services support contracts can include incident response, audits, system hardening, and more, depending on your anticipated needs.

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