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OSU-Based Power Distribution Communication Networks: Building an All-Optical Foundation for Secure, Stable, and Efficient Power System Operations


Due to different development levels and investment priorities as well as different technical requirements for distribution communication networks, the development of power distribution communication networks varies greatly in different regions. There are also huge discrepancies in the application levels in different regions. New services, such as video services, inspection robots, and IoT supervision systems, are gradually moved from substations to the power distribution communication networks, improving the digitalization level of the network to make it 'observable, controllable and measurable.' This places higher requirements on the bandwidth, delay, and comprehensive bearing capacity of the power distribution communication network.

In the future, with the growing proportion of installed new energy capacity, the power distribution communication network will face three challenges.

• Challenge 1: New energy will be the main installed capacity and power supply source, placing higher requirements on real-time and accurate control of the distribution communication network.

• Challenge 2: The power supply reliability evaluation indicators are being continuously improved, requiring better support from the power distribution communication network.

• Challenge 3: New application scenarios, such as video backhaul, power supply supervision systems, auxiliary control systems, robots, and drones, have extended from substations to power distribution networks. Therefore, the bandwidth, delay, and comprehensive bearing capacity of the power distribution communication network are required to be upgraded accordingly.

Recent years have seen the emergence of some new directions in the research of power distribution communication networks, including how to integrate different network technologies and modes, how to improve network reliability, in order to support stable and secure network operations and to adapt to different application scenarios, driving power grid development in the next 5-10 years, and accelerating electric power digitalization and global energy transition.

The optical communication network uses optical fibers as transmission media, possessing innate advantages in signal transmission capability and reliability. For example, optical fibers boast strong anti-electromagnetic interference capability, ensuring signal quality in various complex deployment environments. As a typical optical technology, the passive optical network (PON) has unique hand-in-hand networking architecture and the type-C protection mechanism. It features unique advantages in power distribution communication network scenarios and can tolerate multi-point failures, with node faults not affecting the normal operations of other systems. In scenarios such as the telemetry, remote communication, remote control of the power distribution network, and new energy group dispatch and control, PON supports deterministic low latency and low jitter for control services in Zone I. The communication technologies also support zero packet loss, zero bit error, and zero interruption.

Architecture of the OSU-based E2E all-optical high-quality power communication network

Huawei has developed the Native Hard Pipe (NHP) solution in the optical communications field, covering power transmission and transformation communication networks , power distribution communication networks , and all-optical substations. Based on the latest optical service unit (OSU) technology, NHP helps to build an ultra-high-quality communication network with simplified O&M for power distribution, and delivers many benefits to the power distribution communication network:

• Multi-partition services carried on one network: The brand-new OSU is used to physically isolate different zones. For example, distribution automation and metering services are carried on a unified network while meeting the requirement for physical isolation between production system services.

• High-quality service bearing: The OSU technology ensures E2E delay in milliseconds, providing the highest level of service assurance for precise control services as well as telemetry, remote communication, and remote control.

• Simplified service provisioning and O&M: Network Cloud Engine (NCE) integrates the power distribution communication network and power transmission and transformation communication network to implement E2E service provisioning and fault locating.

So far, Huawei has worked with several power companies to pilot the NHP-based integrated power distribution network solution, with some initial success. Huawei and its partner have conducted a pilot project that used hard-isolation technology to bear services including telemetry, remote communication, remote control, and meter reading. In addition, Huawei is working on deploying primary backhaul stations for distribution network automation, video, and power supply supervision services, promoting the construction of transparent and intelligent power distribution networks.

As optical communications technology evolves from F5G to F5G Advanced, Huawei will continue to invest in standards, distribution network service isolation, and end-to-end networking with our customers and partners, with the aim of building a next-generation high-quality power communication network for future power grids. We will strive to build an all-optical foundation with a high-reliability of 99.99999% to support secure, stable, and efficient power system operations.

To learn more about Huawei FTTM Solution for Power Distribution Communication Networks, please visit:

Author of this article:

Li Zhenhua, Senior Product Management Expert of the Energy Industry of Huawei's Optical Product Line

Huang Fei, Marketing Manager of the Energy Industry of Huawei's Optical Product Line

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, products, and technologies of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. If you need to learn more about the products and technologies of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., please visit our website at or contact us.