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Huawei Releases Technical White Paper on the FlexE-based Relay Protection Service Bearer Solution

FlexE Slice Implement Physical Isolation and Reliably Bear Mission-Critical Services

[China, March 6, 2020] Recently, in response to smart grid development towards IP, Huawei proposed the next-generation IP communication network construction concept for power transmission and transformation, and released Technical White Paper on the FlexE-based Relay Protection Service Bearer Solution. Through analysis, modeling, and testing, the technical white paper fully demonstrates that Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) meets the bearer requirements of relay protection services, which are the most important services of smart grids. The FlexE technology provides physically isolated communication channels for relay protection services through network slicing. This technology solves the technical problem that the latency and jitter do not meet service requirements in case of blocking caused by long packets when traditional IP communication networks are used to bear relay protection services.

With the construction of smart grids and digital substations, power production services are gradually evolving towards IP, and new services are continuously being introduced, such as the wide area measurement system (WAMS), distributed power generation, charging pile, and video surveillance. In this situation, traditional communication networks are unable to meet the requirements of smart grids. Intelligent IP networks, unlike traditional communication networks, can provide a reliable, flexible, and simple connection platform for smart grids, and have now become the ideal choice for electric power enterprises during construction of next-generation electric power communication networks. Relay protection services, especially the optical fiber differential protection services for power transmission lines, pose high requirements on the communication latency, jitter, and two-way latency variation. Therefore, intelligent IP networks must be able to reliably bear relay protection services.

FlexE decouples the Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) and physical (PHY) layers. Based on time division multiplexing (TDM), FlexE flexibly divides a high-speed Ethernet interface into multiple physically isolated and independent communication channels to carry different services, implementing low-cost, highly reliable, and dynamically configurable IP communication. Leveraging the industry's most widely used and powerful Ethernet ecosystem, FlexE has garnered widespread attention since it was first proposed in 2015. Standards organizations, such as Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have also started to participate in FlexE standardization. For example, OIF officially released FlexE IA2.0 in 2018. With the active participation of standards organizations and vendors, the FlexE industry chain is being formed, and the FlexE technology is being applied to various industries.

Based on the FlexE technology, Huawei proposed the next-generation IP communication network construction concept for power transmission and transformation. With the construction concept, the IP communication network for power transmission and transformation is divided into multiple physically isolated network slices, and network resources are configured for each slice. Relay protection services are carried by one slice and isolated from other electric power services. This ensures that the relay protection services are not interfered by other services and meets the communication requirements of the relay protection services for low latency, low jitter, and consistent two-way latency variation. The bandwidth of other slices can be flexibly configured based on the requirements of different electric power services to implement efficient bearing.

Architecture of the next-generation IP communication network for power transmission and transformation

In the white paper, a communication scenario for relay protection services is used for testing. The test result proves that the FlexE technology can fully meet the bearer requirements of relay protection services in extreme scenarios where such services pass through 15 hops during transmission. For the detailed test result, refer to Technical White Paper on the FlexE-based Relay Protection Service Bearer Solution, which can be downloaded at

To meet the current and future requirements of smart grids while ensuring their continuous development, Huawei will continue conducting innovation to provide leading ICT solutions for electric power customers.

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