IEC 61850 Defines Communication Requirements

Virginia Balitski, Magna IV EngineeringColumns, Fall 2023 Columns, Tech Quiz

Communication plays a critical role in the operation of modern substations. As the industry was evolving into the digital age, there was a need for a unified communication architecture, and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) began to develop international standards for communication. In this quiz, we will explore the international communication standard IEC 61850. 

1. What is the international standard IEC 61850 used for? 
a. Fiber optic interconnecting devices
b. Substation communication 
c. Substation fire protection
d. SCADA and automation systems

2. Which of the following is one of the benefits of utilizing IEC 61850 over other protocols?
a. Object naming 
b. Wired connections 
c. Exclusive end-to-end communication 
d. Increased bandwidth 

3. Which aspect of IEC 61850 ensures that critical data is delivered with the highest priority?
a. Time synchronization 
b. Cybersecurity 
c. Interoperability
d. Quality of service 

4. When dealing with an IEC 61850 system, which of the following would be considered an IED?
a. Motor starter 
b. Protective Relay 
c. Substation communication bus  
d. Logical node

5. A protective relay falls under which level in an IEC 61850 system?
a. Logical level
b. Station level
c. Process level
d. Bay level 

6. What is the term for allowing integration and management of equipment from different manufacturers?
a. Synchronization 
b. Automation 
c. Interoperability 
d. Controllability 

7. Which communication protocols are specified in IEC 61850?
a. MMS  
c. SMV
d. All of the above  

Virginia Balitski, CET, Manager – Training and Development, has worked for Magna IV Engineering since 2006. Virginia started her career as a Field Service Technologist and achieved a NETA Level 4 Senior Technician certification. She has since dedicated her time to the advancement of training and safety in the electrical industry. She is a Certified Engineering Technologist through ASET – The Association of Science & Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta. Virginia is the current Vice-Chair of CSA Z462, Workplace Electrical Safety, and is a member of NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety in the Workplace Technical Committee. She serves on NETA’s Board of Directors, is involved with many NETA committees, and represents NETA on the ASTM F18 committee.