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Combined Grid Communication Testbed Implementation for Real-time Measurement, Calibration, and Communication


The main objective in this project is to implement a flexible and programmable research testbed that can support deployment of a wide ranging sensory device such as low data rate meters to high data rates synchrophasor equipment. At the application layer a grid network is constructed where a Virtual node representing a meter or a PMU can be placed at any desirable location in the grid network where the sensors can communicate with each other’s through a network of over 80 Emulab nodes. The integrated grid-communication testbed is capable of evaluating the power quality under real-world conditions. The integrated grid communication research testbed will enable us to put theory into practice towards fast deployment of novel techniques.  It can provide initial experimental evidence that supports our hypothesis for future research. The immediate impact of this will be substantial for development of innovative schemes in CPS related applications.


With the growing deployment of Phasor Measurement Units (PMU), it is becoming possible to monitor the power flow in real-time, by measuring phase difference throughout the grid.  The main purpose of this project is to develop detailed design, implementation, and operational plans for setting up a research testbed capable of evaluating and demonstrating the performance of various grid and communication network configurations in real-time and under real world conditions.  The testbed is specifically designed to support CPS-enabled smart grid applications.  It is based on an emulation platform that allows a large number of virtual nodes to be created for communicate in centralized or distributed manner. The testbed provides necessary modules and services that can support application development for PMU sensor network and has the following characteristic features:

  • Interfacing capability for deployment of any type of sensor devices, including commercial PMU’s for test and calibration 
  • Designing virtual sensors including PMU’s for M2M communication
  • Developing an emulation platform to evaluate various communicate networks architectures under real-world conditions
  • GPS synchronization of all PMU nodes in the network
  • Developing transmission and distribution grid networks for the power grid monitoring system



Combined Grid Communication Testbed
Combined Grid Communication Testbed

Major Accomplishments

The test-bed has already been successfully applied to assess wide area measurement for grid monitoring systems. Currently, the testbed consists of 80 Emulab nodes and is capable of evaluating the performance of various wireless technologies and protocols. At the application layer a grid network is constructed where each commercial PMU device or a VPMU representing a sensor node can be placed at any desirable location in the grid network. The combined grid-communication testbed is also capable of deploying real PMU devices in the network for test and evaluation. The testbed, upon completion, can be used to assess power quality using various IEEE bus configurations for both transmission and distribution grids. Efforts continue to expand the testbed to include different communication network architectures.  

Created August 16, 2016, Updated July 8, 2023