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3: Challenging Terrain

IGIN-EFS for SCADA, Volt/VAR Optimization & Automation over Challenging Terrain with Site & System Redundancy

A mid-sized utility in the Northeast needed to automate its distribution circuits with the goal of deploying a fully automatic fault-isolation/circuit-restoration system and various Volt/VAR circuit applications using RF.  The terrain is extremely challenging so deploying IGIN-EFS utilizing narrowband 220MHz frequencies for connectivity provided a cost-effective and practical solution.

The utility has Cooper Form 4C (2179 protocol), Cooper Form 5 and Cooper Form 6 reclosures (DNP 3). Their intention is to automate all their circuits and ultimately deploy about 500 reclosures. The utility is also developing a sophisticated system for VAR optimization and other circuit functionality which requires two-way communication to capacitor banks, regulators and other equipment.

 The utility has control rooms in two separate locations with communications fail-over as well as redundant communications at each Master Radio Site.

For redundancy, the utility has a total of four EMS/SCADA systems in two separate locations. Each site has two systems that back each other up. This means that the primary location has a hot-backup and if that location should become inoperable, the EMS/SCADA group can immediately move to the secondary location which has a separate hot-backup. This dual redundancy extends to the Master radio sites as each has two IGINs connected to separate 220MHz radios and separate back-haul paths (Microwave and T1).


  • Signal round-trip time typically about 2 seconds for controls.
  • Each Remote Site can report a large number of analogs and status points.
  • The ability to keep up with changing technology without becoming obsolete.
  • Comply with Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) cyber security standards.
  • A single licensed wireless Master Site that can accommodate 200+ remote sites.
  • 256-bit end-to-end encryption, authentication, audit trail and other security features.
  • Ability to interface with many propriety and any non-propriety protocols (2179, DNP, and many others.)
  • Scalability – the ability to start with a few sites and expand to many sites over time as budgets become available.
  • Single platform supporting all protocols, communication and connectivity options (i.e. radio, fiber, serial, IP, microwave, cellular)
  • Ability to upload/download files (e.g. configuration, text, extended sequence of events, etc.) over narrowband or wideband channels.
  • EFS-Server that connects  multiple  Enterprise Level Systems (EMS/SCADA, OMS, Capacitor Control, Load Modeling, GIS, CIS, etc.)
  • Ability  to  communicate  with  any  device  from  any  manufacturer (Cooper  Form 4C,  Cooper  Form 5,  Cooper  Form 6, Capacitor Banks and many others).
  • Advanced communication diagnostics for each radio in the network. The diagnostics include reporting signal strength, signal to noise ratio, radio temperature, power supply, reliability statistics and many other parameters in real-time. This information is provided in order to simplify trouble-shooting and maintaining a reliable real-time wireless system on a pro-active basis.