Cisco ups the smart grid ante with new substation and security offerings

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

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Cisco is out today with two new electric power offerings: 1) a security architecture and 2) a substation solution that includes a new switch, a new router interface module and a new reference design. I've listed a few of the implications I noted. Please use the Talk Back form to share what you think.

 

The Cisco GridBlocks Architecture continues to provide competitive value. Cisco spent a lot of time and money to construct a layered architecture that marries the communications network with the electric power network. Now they are using it not just to help clients but also to underpin their own strategy.

 

(By the way, Microsoft has just updated its own reference architecture. I'll be back shortly to tell you more.)

 

Convergence continues to be a strong theme. The new security offering, for instance, converges security across wired and wireless infrastructures. You'll find the convergence concept woven into almost everything the company does.

 

The ability to handle low-latency applications will be a key differentiator. Ultimately, Cisco wants to provide all the plumbing from the point of generation all the way down to the meter, and everything in between.

 

Part of Cisco's secret sauce is strong support for legacy systems. For instance, it's substation design guide shows how to implement a multiservice IP network that also supports legacy TDM.

 

I find it ironic that a relative newcomer is doing better than many old-timers at bridging old-time protocols and applications into the IPv6 world. On the other hand, Cisco has been through this transition before in cable and telecom, so it understands the value of getting very good at supporting legacy systems.

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