Altera partners with Finnish developer for smart grid demonstrator

February 28, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
Altera has teamed with Finnish developer Flexibilis on a High-availability Seamless Redundancy (HSR) and Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP) reference design for smart grid substation automation equipment.

The IEC 62439-3-compliant reference design includes Flexibilis' Redundant Switch (FRS) intellectual property (IP) implemented on an Altera low-power, low-cost Cyclone-class FPGA or Cyclone V SoC. The reference design simplifies development and implementation of highly reliable mission-critical communications systems in smart grid substations.
The Flexibilis HSR/PRP IP included in the reference design is a triple-speed 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Layer 2 switchthat is scalable from 3 to 8 ports and is compliant with the IEC 62439-3 standard. The IP is optimized for use on an Altera low-power, low-cost Cyclone IV FPGA, Cyclone V FPGA or Cyclone V SoC, which feature an integrated dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor subsystem. Cyclone V SoCs enable customers to reduce component costs by implementing their HSR/PRP switch along with the associated software stacks running on the ARM processor subsystem in the FPGA. For timing synchronization, the HSR/PRP solution supports IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) Version 2.
"The IEC 62439-3 standard is rapidly evolving, making the flexibility of an FPGA an ideal platform to base our FSR IP on," said Heikki Ala-Juusela, chairman of the board at Flexibilis. "Altera's highly integrated FPGAs and SoCs allow users to reduce their total cost of ownership while at the same time leverage the device's performance to handle Gigabit Ethernet traffic. This HSR/PRP solution ensures designers can future-proof their substation automation systems by ensuring communication with future generations of intelligent electronics devices."
"A key trend today in developing a smarter power grid is bidirectional communication and real-time control of the equipment in the grid's transmission and distribution substations," said Jason Chiang, senior strategic marketing manager in Altera's Industrial Business Unit. "Our FPGA-based HSR/PRP reference design enables equipment manufactures to build flexibility, performance, reliability and product longevity into their systems while lowering system costs and future proofing designs."
Combining Altera FPGAs with the FRS IP provides a cost-effective way to implement highly reliable mission-critical communications systems in smart grid substations with no license