Post Date


Tilson Leads Recloser Automation Pilot Program

Back to news

PORTLAND, ME (November 30, 2012) Tilson (, at the request of a mid-Atlantic transmission and distribution utility, is leading a recloser automation pilot program to enhance this client's smart grid capabilities. The purpose of the pilot is to provide a several dozen node proof-of-concept for securely utilizing a large, wide area IP Network to allow remote control from both primary and backup ECC (Energy Control Center) / SCADA Master Stations of both RTUs (Remote Terminal Units) and IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices) using the DNP3 Standard. There are 100 Reclosers (RTUs and IEDs) participating in the pilot and they are located over a vast geographical area (hundreds of miles).

Tilson is providing RF and network design, deployment, documentation and testing services for this pilot program. Utilizing the Digi WR41 deployed over a LTE carrier network as the IP WAN, we are taking advantage of the WR41 VPN capabilities to interface with Cisco ASA (VPN concentrator) located at each ECC to establish a one-to-many VPN relationship from the ECC to the WR41’s located in their own communications cabinet attached to a utility pole collocated with a NuLec recloser controller. Once a secure VPN is established the application provides for the utility to operate its existing Telvent 3030 /SCADA application to control the NuLec recloser.

The Digi WR41 allows us to provide the necessary serial Interface across the WAN IP network that the Telvent 3030 and the NuLec recloser need to communicate using the DNP3 Protocol. Further, taking advantage of the WR41's ability to have priority VPNs, we are able to provide automatic fail-over VPN tunnels to alternate VPN concentrators and, with the use of Tilson custom scripting, maintain a TCP socket connection to the Televent 3030 with the "live" VPN tunnel, thus providing the mission critical, secure, connectivity demanded by the Utility.

Future enhancements to bolster the security of the application will be to employ the upcoming "geo-fencing scripting" from Digi. Employing GPS and SMS messaging we will be able to "lock-down" the WR41 to a specific physical location. If the WR4 is "moved" it can alert proper personnel and be automatically quarantined from network access and yet still be tracked for theft-recovery.

The WR41's modular approach is a great platform/tool for Tilson that allows us to offer the application specific customizations our clients demand.