Precision timing and communication networking experiments in a real-time power grid hardware-in-the-loop laboratory

Prottay M. Adhikari, Hossein Hooshyar, Randall J. Fitsik, Luigi Vanfretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The growing wave of digitization in power grids is bringing increased reliance on information and communication technologies (ICT) for the operation of the grid. Such cyber–physical power systems (CPPS) involve the interaction of the physics of the power grid with the performance of other engineered systems, such as communications and time-synchronization. To understand the interplay of such interactions, experimentation is required. However, there are very limited opportunities to perform experiments on actual CPPS systems, due to safety and security concerns. Nevertheless, the demand for more functionalities on cyber components will continue to rise, and thus, other means to understand CPPS behavior for design, implementation and testing are needed. To address this gap, a real-time simulator-based power system laboratory was implemented with the objective of facilitating experiments involving precision timing and communication networking systems which are coupled with power grid models running in real-time. These are integrated in three layers: (a) Precise Timing Layer, (b) Communication/Network Layer, and (c) Electrical Component Layer. This paper reports on detailed experiments performed on the precision timing and communication layers of the laboratory. It shows how to couple the different layers together, and how to conduct experiments to tamper with both the precision timing and communication layers, along with their interactions with the simulated grid. Finally, the paper shows how to validate the Quality of Service (QoS) rules implemented in virtual local area networks (VLANs) in the laboratory environment when using different power system communication protocols.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100549
JournalSustainable Energy, Grids and Networks
StatePublished - Dec 3 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-05-25
Acknowledgements: This research was funded in part by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), United States under agreement numbers 137948, and 149165; in part by the Engineering Research Center Program of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy under Award EEC-1041877, in part by the CURENT Industry Partnership Program, in part by the Center of Excellence for NEOM Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, and in part by Dominion Energy.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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