The Grid Net Platform is based on a software architecture purpose-built to work on telecom networks. Why build a single-purpose mesh network (and a team to maintain it) when existing telecom networks are faster, cheaper, and both better managed and continually improved by the experts?
The advantages of the Grid Net Platform are much deeper than the strengths of cellular over mesh. The architecture, based entirely on Internet Protocols (IP) and Grid Net’s implementation of embedded SELinux (shown below), is the difference. Highlights include:
- The fact that it is centrally-managed (system software on the server in blue) and highly-distributed (device firmware on every device in green).
- The way Identity, Security, and IP Networking services are mirrored on the server and every device.
- The centrality of the policy engine, which is also mirrored on the server and every device.
- The extensibility of the application layer (Grid Net Applications in orange and other applications in gray — this includes both legacy back office systems and applications not yet built).
- The fact that the platform is network agnostic (public or private, wired or wireless).
Device Identity Services
The Grid Net Platform includes a full-featured Certificate Authority (CA) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). These two components allow devices on an unsecured network to securely and privately exchange data using a cryptographic key pair that is obtained through a trusted authority. This process ensures that only known devices are permitted access to secure smart grid services (those services are subject to this same process too).
Security isn’t something that can be bolted on at the end, it has to be built into the core of the platform from day one. That’s why Grid Net leveraged proven security standards as defined by the IEEE, IETF, and ITU standards bodies and the US NIST governmental agency. The ability to validate device identities is a significant piece of the platform — it’s absolutely imperative to maintaining the integrity of the grid at all times.
Device Security Services
The Grid Net Platform leverages industry standard AAA and VPN security protocols. Verified devices are securely managed over IPSec VPNs.
Security is the backbone of our platform, but the real differentiator is the way that the platform manages itself. Based on their unique identities, devices inherit rules-based policies and new configurations (such as meter programs, device firmware, QoS settings, and more) automatically without human intervention. The entire deployment process is seamless from network entry to networked operation.
IP Networking Services
The Grid Net Platform is all IP-based. It includes highly-scalable IP address services and universal network time service based on IETF open standards. DHCP and DDNS ensure flexible management of IP addresses and host configuration. NTP maintains time accuracy, which is critical to maintaining the integrity of network and security protocols.
Smart Grid Web Services
The Grid Net Platform ensures plug-and-play integration with applications from Grid Net, other third party developers, and legacy utility systems through the web services layer. Based on the IEC CIM 61968, which defines the Systems Interfaces for Distribution Management, these services provide secure high-performance SOAP-based interfaces. Additionally, these same services use event-driven processes to automatically and reliably publish data to other systems.
The Policy Engine sits at the heart of the Grid Net Platform. Its robust support for industry standards enables the definition and management of policies for both grid and premise devices:
- IEC CIM 61970 (Common Information Model) governs the Utility Power Model provides the ability to logically catalog all grid assets and relationships.
- COSEM 62056 (Companion Specification for Energy Metering) provides the international standard to read electric meters.
- ANSI C12.19/.21 provides the structure to read end device tables on electric meters.
- IEC CIM 61968 provides the specification for interacting with other grid applications.
- SEP v1.1/2.x (Smart Energy Profile) defines the standards for working with Premise Area Networks.
This is the most important piece of the platform. It’s what allows Grid Net to scale, to embrace how utilities view their grid assets, and to interoperate and integrate with applications and legacy systems.
Grid Net is looking for utilities and partners who share our vision of tomorrow.
Contact us today for more information.