Tutorial 4 – Information-centric communication infrastructure for real-time state estimation of distribution networks using PMUs

Distribution system operation can largely be improved by the availability of the accurate and real-time knowledge of the system state, facilitated by the use of Phasor Measurement Units. In that respect, a critical challenge is the lack of a scalable and resilient communication infrastructure for timely (i.e. sub-second) delivery of high volume of UTC-synchronized and continuous synchrophasor measurements, collected from different locations. The aim of this tutorial is to present an information-centric communication infrastructure, C-DAX, to address that challenge.


With the constant increase of renewable and, more in general, distributed energy sources dispersed over the power grid, new advanced applications are needed to actively manage distribution networks and achieve specific operation objectives as optimal voltage control, line congestion management, fault detection and location, post-fault management, local load balancing, minimization of losses etc. These operations are largely improved by the availability of the accurate and real-time knowledge of the system state (RTSE). This functionality can be facilitated by the use of Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) providing phasor measurements in the order of 50 or 60 frames per second.

A critical challenge for PMU-based RTSE applications is the lack of a scalable and resilient communication infrastructure for the timely (i.e., sub-second) delivery of high volume of UTC-synchronized and continuous synchrophasor measurements, collected from geographically dispersed PMU locations.

Aim of the tutorial

In this tutorial we present an information-centric communication infrastructure, C-DAX, to address this challenge. C-DAX is envisioned as an overlay network platform over possibly heterogeneous underlying communication technologies to support a wide range of smart grid applications. C-DAX is based on the Information-Centric Networking (ICN) concept where communication is centric to information (i.e., what) rather than the host locations (i.e., where). It’s uses a topic-based publish-subscribe engine that decouples the time and space of data producers and consumers. Decoupling of the communicating end hosts simplifies the configuration needs of multipoint-to-multipoint communications in a decentralized manner and provides inherent security protection by obscuring target hosts. Full mesh point-to-point communications is eliminated improving scalability and reducing needed bandwidth. C-DAX simplifies automatic reconfigurations and continuous data delivery in case of grid topology changes, e.g. due to faults or maintenance operations. It also supports the vision of fast and on-demand islanding operations.

More information on C-DAX: http://www.cdax.eu


The C-DAX presentation consists of two parts: (i) an overview of the C-DAX platform, its rationale, targeted use cases, and overview of the different technical aspects of the platform, and (ii) the use of C-DAX for real-time state estimation of distribution networks including challenges and solutions regarding the fulfillment of the stringent delay, jitter and resilience requirements of RTSE operations concluded with a demonstration.

  • Part 1: Overview of the C-DAX platform (1h45), including:
    • Introduction on ICN, rationale, benefits of the C-DAX for DSOs, targeted use cases
    • Overview of the C-DAX architecture, communication modes & signaling & main functionalities (security, resilience, flexibility, etc.)
    • Support & validation for diverse use cases (demand response services, EV charging reservation, smart metering, …)
    • Strength/weakness analysis of the platform
  • Part 2: C-DAX for real-time state estimation of distribution networks (1h45), including:
    • Introduction on RTSE of distribution networks (need, applications)
    • Communication infrastructure feasibility study
    • Support for existing standards via protocol adaptation layer
    • Deployment & demonstration of C-DAX in real-life distribution network of Alliander
    • Overview of the field trial results


The tutorial is provided free of charge for IEEE ENERGYCON 2016 registered participants. Please register for participation online at http://www.conftool.com/energycon2016.

Participants that have already registered for the conference, but not for the tutorial can add the tutorial to their registration: https://www.conftool.com/energycon2016/index.php?page=editParticipant.


Lorenzo Zanni Lorenzo Zanni was born in Italy in 1988. He received the B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. (Hons.) degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, in 2010 and 2012, respectively. He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree with the Distributed Electrical System Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland. His main research areas include real-time monitoring and control of active distribution networks with particular focus on state estimation using phasor measurement units, and synchrophasor-based fault location.
Chris Develder Prof. Dr. Chris Develder currently is associate professor with the research group IBCN of the Dept. of Information Technology (INTEC) at Ghent University – iMinds, Ghent, Belgium, where he leads two research teams, one on smart grids, the other on information retrieval and extraction. His research interests also still include optical networks (dimensioning, modeling, optimization, esp. for grid/cloud computing). He received the M.Sc. degree in computer science engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), in July 1999 and December 2003 respectively. From Oct. 1999 to Dec. 2003, he has been working in the Dept. of Information Technology (INTEC), at the same university, as a Researcher for the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO), in the field of network design and planning. From Jan. 2004 to Aug. 2005, he worked for OPNET Technologies, on transport network design and planning. In Sep. 2005, he re-joined INTEC as a post-doctoral researcher, and as a post-doctoral fellow of the FWO since Oct. 2006. In Oct. 2007 he obtained a part-time, and since Feb. 2010 a fulltime associate professorship at Ghent University. So far, he has (co-)authored more than 170 papers published in either international conferences or journals.
Herman Bontius Herman Bontius BSc has his education in Electrotechnical Engineering and Telecommunication. He has 20 years of engineering and consultancy experience in requirements analysis, innovation and development of Datacommunication Solutions mainly for Power utilities. Currently he is a Consultant working on requirements analysis, architecture and specification of communication and related grid solutions for monitoring, protection and control.
Michael Hoefling Michael Hoefling is a researcher and PhD student at the Chair for Communication Networks at the University of Tübingen/Germany since 2010. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science from the University of Umeå/Sweden, and a German diploma in computer science (Dipl.-Inform.) from the University of Würzburg/Germany. In 2008, he was member of the research group “Grid Infrastructure Research and Development” (GIRD) at the University of Umeå/Sweden, working on data placement services and issues in grid computing environments. Thereafter, he joined the research group “Next Generation Networks” (NGN) at the Chair of Communication Networks at the University of Würzburg/Germany from 2008 to 2010, focusing on future Internet addressing and routing. He was author and co-author of papers in the area of future internet routing, published in top journals such as IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications and IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials. His current research interests include current and future Internet addressing and routing, as well as smart grid, information-centric networking, data center networks, and grid and cloud computing.
Yue Cao Dr. Yue Cao is currently with the University of Surrey received where he obtained his PhD degree in Electronic Engineering in May 2013. His main research interests focus on design, analysis and simulation of mobile wireless networks, QoS routing and congestion control in Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networks (DTNs) and Mobile Ad hoc NETworks (MANETs), Opportunistic routing in wireless mesh network, Smart Grid, Information Centric Networking. He has published several IEEE transactions and high quality conference papers.
Paolo Romano Dr. Paolo Romano is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory (DESL) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL). His research interests refer to the synchrophasor area and particularly to the development of advanced Phasor Measurement Units for the real-time monitoring of active distribution networks. He received his BSc and MSc degree (with honors) in electronics engineering from the University of Genova, Italy, in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and is Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne in 2016.
Matthias Strobbe Dr. Matthias Strobbe received his M. Sc. degree in Computer Science Engineering from Ghent University, Belgium, in July 2004. As of August 2004, he started working as research engineer affiliated with the Department of Information Technology of Ghent University – iMinds. In 2006, he started a Ph.D. about software architectures for support of context aware services which was finished in 2011. Since then he is working as project coordinator and postdoctoral researcher in the domain of smart energy grids in the same department.
Wilfred Smith Wilfred Smith B. Sc. has his education in Mechanical Engineering, Energy technology. In addition, he has studied Strategic Marketing on the School of Management, University of Groningen, He has more than 25 years’ experience in various positions such as Project specialist, Project manager and Manager. Currently he is a Project Manager at Alliander, Energy Consulting with focus on the Energy Transition Domain and innovation projects in relation to smart grids and smart societies.