Utilities

Modernizing utility networks to meet the increasing demands of today and tomorrow.

Climate and environmental legislation. Technology innovations. Distributed generation, storage and management. Consumer behavior. These are just a few of the external forces that are transforming energy utility business models. Aging infrastructures combined with a need to streamline operations, reduce costs, and ensure reliability have placed new challenges on utility networks.

Network engineers and architects have to contend with the obsolescence of existing circuits while also meeting critical performance requirements for key applications—such as teleprotection—where reliable, secure, low-latency, deterministic performance is essential.

The Big 3

No. 1

Leverage packet-optical technology, optimized for reliability, new applications, and greater ease of operation

No. 2

Simplify operations, accelerate and automate service delivery with network virtualization, SDN/NFV service orchestration, and management software

No. 3

Employ a low-risk, high-performance upgrade for legacy SONET/SDH networks, allowing you to migrate to next-gen technologies at your own pace

What’s next

The imperative to migrate away from legacy TDM-based carrier services creates a challenging timetable for those who operate the nation’s critical electrical infrastructure. Network modernization is essential. And to create networks of the future, there are field-proven network solutions available today, operating in real-world utility networks, that can help enable a successful transition.

Industry insights

Three of the top challenges that face today’s utilities in modernizing the electric grid are the transition from TDM to packet, IT/OT convergence, and security and compliance. These challenges highlight key areas where packet-networking technology can facilitate these utility network transformations.

Ciena Insights

Three of the top challenges that face today’s utilities in modernizing the electric grid are the transition from TDM to packet, IT/OT convergence, and security and compliance. These challenges highlight key areas where packet-networking technology can facilitate these utility network transformations.

Virtualization of services provides reliable, logical separation and prioritization of different traffic types over a common converged packet-optical network. This can be done with great operational flexibility via DWDM wavelengths, OTN timeslots and/or Ethernet virtual circuits. SDN/NFV service orchestration abstracts the complexity of underlying virtual and physical domains, eliminates separate IT and OT silos, and automates and optimizes end-to-end delivery.

Defending utility networks and control systems is also a key concern. Under NERC CIP requirements, utilities must identify critical assets and regularly perform a risk analysis of those assets. Policies are required for monitoring, configuring, and controlling access to critical assets, and deploying systems for monitoring security events. Cyber (firewall) and physical perimeter security, especially at substations, is required. In addition, utilities must have comprehensive contingency plans for cyber attacks, and other unplanned disruptions such as those caused by natural disasters.

Robust security tools—from bulk encryption to user authentication and network-based access controls—are built into Ciena’s advanced packet-optical platforms.

All utilities insights

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