“Resilient Communications in Smart Grids”
Master’s thesis, Mestrado em Segurança Informática, Departamento de Informática, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Sept. 2018
Abstract: The evolution on how electricity is produced and consumed has made the management of power grids an extremely complex task. Today’s centenary power grids were not designed to fit a new reality where consumers can also be producers, or the impressive increase in consumption caused by more sophisticated and powerful appliances. Smart Grids have been prepared as a solution to cope with this problem, by supporting more sophisticated communications among all the components, allowing the grid to react quickly to changes in both consumption or production of energy. On the other hand, resorting to information and communication technologies (ICT) brings some challenges, namely, managing network devices at this scale and assuring that the strict communication requirements are fulfilled is a dauting task. Software Defined Networks (SDN) can address some of these problems by separating the control and data planes, and logically centralizing network control in a controller. The centralised control has the ability to observe the current state of the network from a vantage point, and programatically react based on that view, making the management task substantially easier. In this thesis we provide a solution for a resilient communications network for Smart Grids based on SDN. As Smart Grids are very sensitive to network issues, such as latency and packet loss, it is important to detect and react to any fault in a timely manner. To achieve this we propose and develop two core modules, a network monitor and a routing and traffic engineering module. The first is a solution for monitoring with the goal to obtain a global view of the current state of the network. The solution is secure, allowing malicious attempts to subvert this module to be detected in a timely manner. This information is then used by the second module to make routing decisions. The routing and traffic engineering module ensures that the communications among the smart grid components are possible and fulfils the strict requirements of the Smart Grid.
Research line(s): Fault and Intrusion Tolerance in Open Distributed Systems (FIT)