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-> home > news > Comparison of IEC 60870-5-101...

3rd revised and updated comparison...

Comparison of IEC 60870-5-101/-103/-104, DNP3,
and IEC 60870-6-TASE.2 with IEC 61850

The most wanted document !
Since this topic seems to be a crucial issue, we have updated
and enhanced the second version (2002)

Need training for IEC 60870-5-101, -103, -104, DNP3, TASE.2, ..., IEC 61850?

Edited and drafted by Karlheinz Schwarz, SCC,

Download the complete report (version 3, 2008-10-03). [22 pages - pdf document - 250 KB]

Download the complete report (version 2). [20 pages - pdf document - 440 KB]

Is IEC 61850 competing with UCA 2.0? No! IEC 61850 is the solution - UCA is the brand name. Read the new two page comparison (2004-08-31; updated 2004-09-13)

The comparison is based on the experience and background information of well known experts (convenors and other working group members) that are involved in several IEC TC 57 projects, UCATM, and DNP for many years:

  • Wolfgang Brodt, Convenor IEC TC 57 WG 03; (SAT, Vienna/Austria),
  • Christoph Brunner, Convenor IEC TC 57 WG 12; (ABB, Zurich/Switzerland),
  • Grand Gilchrist, Secretary, DNP User's Group Technical Committee and Member of IEC TC57 WG 10,11,12 and 15; (GE Energy Services, Calgary/Canada),
  • Wolfgang Maerz, speaker of German delegation of IEC TC 57; (RWE, Dortmund/Germany), and
  • George Schimmel, Convenor IEC TC 57 WG 11; (Tamarack, Ann Arbor (MI)/USA)

Executive Summary

SCADA protocols have traditionally been designed to optimize bandwidth (number of bytes on the wire) and hardware utilization (processor speeds, RAM and ROM space). IEC 60870-5 and DNP3 emerged from a broad family of proprietary protocols for Data Acquisition (Data Collection) to provide a first level of Data Acquisition Interoperability.

Increased number of points implies higher costs for maintaining databases, com-missioning costs in verifying points. More applications are accessing the data and the complexity of the applications has increased. Deregulation will only add to the complexity through increased information sharing. With traditional SCADA proto-cols the meaning of the points is located in various places: system engineering tools, configuration of RTU and other intelligent electronic devices (IED), configuration of databases, and configuration of applications. The Management of this com-plex information (definition, validation, interpretation, and use) is costly and time-consuming. Easier Management and Integration of the Information has become a crucial requirement. Technology advancements in hardware, software, and communications has shifted the focus in SCADA applications from Data Acqui-sition to Information Management.

IEC 618502 meets the requirements for an integrated Information Management, providing the user with consistent Knowledge of the System on-line – rather than just Gigabytes of raw data values. IEC 61850 defines standardized Informa-tion Models across vendors and a comprehensive configuration standard (SCL – System Configuration Language). Self-description and Meta-Data allow for on-line Validation. Objects are accessed by name, rather than user/vendor/model specific point numbers. Thus Database Validation can become highly automated, without vendor configuration files.

Standardized Information Models, a set of appropriate real-time SCADA Ser-vices, and the application of advanced communication systems allow for a high level Application Interoperability providing application domain specific information models (semantic of data) rather than interoperable data exchange services. In this regard, IEC 61850 goes far beyond the traditional SCADA protocols.

The specific definitions in IEC 61850 provide Information Models for substations and feeder applications. The common parts are used as a base standard in other application domains, e.g. distributed Energy systems (IEC TC 88 - Wind power plants; IEC 61400-25).

IEC 61850 is the solution for a single IEC TC 57 Seamless Telecontrol Communication Architecture for process related information and information exchange. SCC expects that this will cause most new substations to be specified with IEC 61850.

Download the complete report (version 3, 2008-10-03). [22 pages - pdf document - 250 KB]

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