Central Lincoln People’s Utility District Transforms Network with Ciena and SEL

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Central Lincoln People’s Utility District has recently selected Ciena and Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL) technology to transform its power grid, which services 33,000 residents and 5,600 commercial and industrial customers in Central Oregon.

This upgrade will allow Central Lincoln to merge both information and operational technology (IT/OT) traffic onto one network, while also achieving ultra-low latency rates for its teleprotection circuits, minimizing the possibility of a power outage.

Utility companies are working to modernize their networks to deliver reliable energy and withstand power outages while being less siloed and better equipped to manage new smart grid applications that require significant amounts of bandwidth.

With this network upgrade, Central Lincoln will be able to merge its other traffic flows with its teleprotection system, which is an interface between the communication network and a protection relay system that identifies and isolates faulty power equipment to prevent area-wide power outages.

In order to support its network transformation, Central Lincoln is using Ciena’s 3926 Platform, which supports multiple data transport options while leveraging a flexible and scalable switching architecture. Ciena’s industry-leading Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller will also provide Central Lincoln with real-time intelligence and visibility to make its network more adaptive and proactive in preventing connectivity challenges.

Central Lincoln will also use SEL’s wide-area-networking multiplexer (or Integrated Communications Optical Network – ICON) to migrate legacy network technologies to a joint IT/OT packet-based solution.

“Ciena and SEL not only met our strict latency requirements but delivered on our need to have a network that is easily and efficiently managed while providing a clear delineation between IT and OT domains and maintaining security protocol,” said, Ron Beck, Chief Engineer, Central Lincoln People’s Utility District.

“Central Lincoln converged mission-critical operational and information technology traffic, while preserving the performance of critical protection applications, providing a clear demarcation between IT and OT domains, and maintaining security protocol,” explained, Ryan Bradetich, Vice President of Research & Development, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

“This deployment addresses the utility industry’s need to move away from siloed networks, which are complex and costly to manage. Ciena’s experience in designing networks that can scale to meet increasing bandwidth demand while delivering reliable, ultra-low-latency performance will play a critical role as Central Lincoln modernizes its network,” informed, Kevin Sheehan, Chief Technology Officer for the Americas, Ciena.