IEC 104 — IEC 60870–5‑104

What is IEC 104?

IEC 104 — IEC 60870–5‑104

IEC 60870–5 is a pro­to­col stan­dard for tele­con­trol, telepro­tec­tion, and oth­er telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion func­tions for elec­tric pow­er systems.

IEC 60870–5‑104 (short IEC-104) is a com­pan­ion stan­dard defin­ing how to extend the IEC 60870–5‑101 pro­to­col to gain net­work access using stan­dard trans­port pro­files. 

  • IEC 60870–5‑101 (IEC101) is a stan­dard for pow­er sys­tem mon­i­tor­ing, con­trol and oth­er relat­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions to auto­mate elec­tric pow­er sys­tems.

  • IEC 60870–5‑104 (IEC104) is an exten­sion of the IEC 101 pro­to­col, includ­ing trans­port, net­work, link & phys­i­cal lay­er exten­sions to enable a full net­work access.

  • For com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­in Eth­er­net LANs (Local Area Net­works) the data is chan­neled through TCP/IP.

  • Two seper­ate link lay­ers enable data trans­fer over of both Eth­er­net & ser­i­al media (PPP - Point-to-Point Pro­to­col).

  • IEC 104 con­tains var­i­ous types of mech­a­nisms to syn­chro­nize data in net­works effectively.

IEC 104 vs 101

The IEC 60870–5‑101 (short IEC-101) and IEC 60870–5‑104 (short IEC-104) pro­to­cols are both used to trans­mit SCADA data in elec­tric pow­er sys­tems. While IEC-104 uses data pack­ets to trans­mit data via TCP/IP, IEC-101 is uses ser­i­al data com­mu­ni­ca­tions (e.g. based on RS-232 and FSK inter­faces) for transmission.

IEC 104 vs DNP3

DNP3 and IEC-104 have both been specif­i­cal­ly devel­oped for SCADA com­mu­ni­ca­tion beyond the sub­sta­tion lev­el, for instance in order to con­trol a cir­cuit break­er from a Con­trol center.

How­ev­er, there are a few advan­tages of DNP3 that make it supe­ri­or in cer­tain applications.

  • For the trans­mis­sion of larg­er data vol­umes over longer dis­tances, DNP3 is pre­ferred as it sends larg­er but few­er data pack­ages than IEC-104, which sends a high num­ber of small packages.
  • DNP3 also enables faster data trans­mis­sion by oper­at­ing in high­er baud rates (num­ber of data bits trans­mit­ted in one sec­ond) than the IEC standards.
  • At last, if the band­width is lim­it­ed, DNP3’s data pri­or­i­ty class­es (Class 1,2,3) allow the con­troller to poll in var­i­ous fre­quen­cies, as opposed to IEC-104, which only pro­vides a con­stant polling frequency.

IEC 104 vs IEC 61850

Although both IEC stan­dards define com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy for the remote con­trol and automa­tion of elec­tri­cal sys­tems, there are sev­er­al rea­sons that explain why it does not make much sense to oppose to the two standards.

IEC 61850 is actu­al­ly a mul­ti­di­men­sion­al stan­dard com­pris­ing pro­to­cols and data mod­els, as it not only defines how data is sent and received but also describes how data is exe­cut­ed and stored. IEC 104 is a com­mon pro­to­col based on the OSI ref­er­ence mod­el, where­as IEC-61850 is often used for data map­ping of stan­dard pro­to­cols such as DLMS, DNP3 or IEC-101/102/103/104 in order to take advan­tage of the effi­cient data trans­fer and exe­cu­tion of IEC 61850.
Fur­ther­more, while IEC 104 is used to con­nect sub­sta­tions to con­trol cen­ters,
IEC61850 is only used with­in the sub­sta­tion. So the high­er the num­ber of IEDs in a sub­sta­tion, the high­er the ben­e­fit of intro­duc­ing IEC 61850 to the SCADA system.

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    Communication Protocols

    IEC 60870–5 is a pro­to­col stan­dard for tele­con­trol, telepro­tec­tion, and oth­er telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion func­tions for elec­tric pow­er systems.

    IEC 60870–5‑104 (short IEC104) is a com­pan­ion stan­dard defin­ing how to extend the IEC 60870–5‑101 pro­to­col to gain net­work access using stan­dard trans­port profiles.

    DLMS/COSEM (or IEC 62056) is the main glob­al stan­dard for smart ener­gy meter­ing, con­trol and man­age­ment. It includes spec­i­fi­ca­tions for media-spe­cif­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­files, an object-ori­ent­ed data mod­el and an appli­ca­tion lay­er protocol.

    Mod­bus is a com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­to­col based on master/slave (RTU) or client/server (TCP/IP) archi­tec­tures that can oper­ate on the 1st, 2nd, 7th lev­el of the OSI Model.

    Orig­i­nal­ly designed in 1979 by Mod­i­con for its range of PLCs, it is now a de fac­to stan­dard com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­to­col in the indus­try, becom­ming the most wide­ly avail­able pro­to­col for the con­nec­tion of indus­tri­al elec­tron­ic devices.

    Dis­trib­uted Net­work Pro­to­col 3 (DNP3) is a set of com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­to­cols used between com­po­nents for automa­tion sys­tems in elec­tric, indus­tri­al and water sectors.

    It is a key pro­to­col in SCADA sys­tems, where it is pri­mar­i­ly used for com­mu­ni­ca­tions between a mas­ter sta­tion and RTUs or IEDs.

    ICCP (Inter-Con­trol Cen­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­to­col) is a stan­dard pro­to­col for com­mu­ni­ca­tions between con­trol cen­ters, which is part of the IEC 60870–6 stan­dard under the name of TASE.2 Tele­con­trol Appli­ca­tion Ser­vice Ele­ment 2.

    It is being used around the world to exchange data over wide area net­works (WANs) between grid oper­a­tors, util­i­ties, vir­tu­al pow­er plants, region­al con­trol cen­ters and oth­er generators.

    PROFIBUS (Process Field Bus) is an open stan­dard for field­bus com­mu­ni­ca­tions in indus­tri­al automa­tion sys­tems that was first pro­mot­ed in Ger­many in 1989.

    The now most com­mon­ly found “Profibus DP” pro­vides sim­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Profibus mas­ters and their remote I/O slaves. 

    IEC 104 & iGrid

    We have col­lect­ed, con­vert­ed and trans­ferred data using the IEC 60860–5‑104 pro­to­col in projects all over the world. All of our sys­tems are able to com­mu­ni­cate with and con­vert the pro­to­col accord­ing to project needs.

    iRTU – With I/Os for Direct Data Acquisition 

    Com­pact and scal­able bay con­troller which can act as IEC 61850 client or serv­er, fea­tur­ing con­fig­urable I/O boards for direct data acqui­si­tion, high-pre­ci­sion time­stamp­ing and an option­al Eth­er­net switch for addi­tion­al Eth­er­net ports.

    iGW‑S Substation Gateway

    Pow­er­ful and reli­able sub­sta­tion gate­way, able to run either in stand­alone or redun­dant modes, with an embed­ded Eth­er­net switch (4 ports) and IEC 61850 client and serv­er capabilities.

    iControl SCADA

    High-per­for­mance SCADA for the visu­al­iza­tion and con­trol of sub­sta­tion data. It is able to run either in client/server or stand­alone modes, pro­vid­ing advanced func­tion­al­i­ties such as hot-stand­by redun­dan­cy, auto­mat­ic line col­or­ing, events noti­fi­ca­tion (via e‑mail and sms), SQL log­ging, and reports generation.

    The Slimmest Gateway

    The iGWlite comes with 1 Eth­er­net, 1 RS485/RS422 and an option­al RS-232 port (cop­per or fiber) or a 2G/3G/4G mode tak­ing lit­tle space on a DIN-Rail, but still employ­ing the full iGrid pro­to­col stack.

    iGrid Solutions and Applications

    Automation with IEC 61850 

    The IEC 61850 stan­dard is enabling new opor­tu­ni­ties for ven­dor inter­op­er­abil­i­ty and advanced sub­sta­tion automa­tion. Find out how you can take advan­tage of IEC 61850 with easy-to-use and adapt­able solu­tions for a sim­ple migra­tion or retrofit.

    HV Substation Automation

    Pow­er­ful sub­sta­tion automa­tion sys­tems often han­dle numer­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols and media with­in one net­work, which can result in expen­sive and com­plex projects.  Avoid these prob­lems with inter­op­er­a­ble tech­nol­o­gy and smart con­fig­u­ra­tion tools.

    MV Distribution Grid Automation

    It is often dif­fi­cult to find the exact solu­tion you need in a MV appli­ca­tion, lead­ing to high­er costs than nec­es­sary. With our scal­able and adapt­able solu­tions you will be able to only pay for what you real­ly need, with­out com­prim­is­ing on qual­i­ty or security.

    Photovoltaic Power Station

    Using an open and scal­able SCADA sys­tem to mon­i­tor and con­trol a PV plant comes with many ben­e­fits on sev­er­al lev­els. Find out how advanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy affects PV oper­a­tion, main­te­nance, sys­tem design, invest­ment secu­ri­ty, profits…