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Building Robust Smart Grids

2013/3/30 18:11:22


The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is the largest electric utility in the world. SGCC operates in 26 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities — more than 88% of Chinese territory. SGCC has become a leader in grid construction by consistently building reliable, secure, IT-enabled networks.


With the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy, SGCC faced challenges as its network grew in scale and complexity. Like other large companies, SGCC had become reliant on information systems such as office automation, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), call center applications, and video conferencing. The utility’s Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) functions are particularly important. Some of these applications require higher Quality of Service (QoS) than others, and SCADA demands a highly robust network that can quickly correct faults automatically to ensure availability, even when some network nodes or links became faulty.

The SGCC needed to upgrade its networks to protect security and deliver an appropriate QoS for each application.


SGCC selected Huawei to supply a network solution because of Huawei’s extensive experience in network implementation and maintenance. Huawei has constructed more than 130 national backbone networks and more than 700 Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) for worldwide telecom carriers and broadcast organizations. The company has shipped more than one million routers to customers world-wide.

Huawei offered a solution that uses Multi-Protocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network (MPLS VPN) technology to isolate service systems and improve network security. In addition, Huawei used VPN QoS technology to provide differentiated QoS for different VPN services, ensuring that video conferences, surveillance, Voice over IP (VoIP), and data services run securely and reliably.

In SGCC’s original integrated data backbone network, national, regional, and provincial networks were single-linked. If one link was faulty, none of the other links could function properly. Given this situation, Huawei’s solution changed to a mesh/partial-mesh network topology that prevents Single Point of Failure (SPOF) and implements redundancy protection for every link.

Further, Huawei’s solution helps ensure service continuity using several fast protection-switching technologies, including Bi-directional Forwarding Detection (BFD), VPN Fast Re-Route (FRR), and IP Fast Re-Route (IP FRR). When a network fault occurs, services complete protection switching within 200 ms, before service systems can sense the fault. These technologies have laid a solid foundation for the secure operation of SGCC’s services.


SGCC’s new unified IP network carries multiple services that are isolated logically and treated as differentiated services. This network carries more services than before and enhances SGCC’s IT-enabled management capabilities.

The upgrade also enhanced the network’s self-healing capabilities. SGCC’s network fault rate has decreased by 20 percent, and the number of key network disconnections has fallen by more than 30 percent.

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