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IEC 60870-5-101

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IEC 60870-5-101 (also known as IEC 870-5-101) is an international standard, released at the beginning of the 90ies by  the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The protocol has found widespread use in the energy sector, and is still used today. It is based on the EPA architecture (Enhanced Performance Architecture) and defines only the physical link and application layers of the OSI model.

IEC 60870-5-101 is primarily used with relatively slow transmission media on the asynchronous V.24 interface. The standard promises baud rates of up to 9600 bit/s, with much higher baud rates (<115200 bit/s) actually being used. X.24/X.27 interfaces with baud rates up to 64000 bit/s, also part of the standard's description, could not establish themselves and are rarely used.

IEC 60870-5-101 is a 'Companion Standard', extended by these further standards:

  • IEC 60870-5-1
    defines different frame formats, though IEC 60870-5-101 uses only the FT1.2 format
  • IEC 60870-5-2
    defines the link layer transmission mode
  • IEC 60870-5-3
    defines the basic application data structure
  • IEC 60870-5-4
    defines how information is encoded
  • IEC 60870-5-5
    defines basic application layer functions
  • IEC TS 60870-5-601
    defines "Conformance Test Cases" for IEC 60870-5-101

IEC 60870-5-101 was extended and more precisely defined in 2001 by Amendment 2.

Interoperability between devices by different vendors is ensured by the interoperability list, which is defined by the standard. In the list, the function range is defined for each device by marking the applicable functions. The common denominator between different vendor lists limits the possible function range.

As the original standard left more room for interpretation, there were many different implementations on a wide range of different devices many of which are mutually incompatible. To remedy this situation, major energy utilities, such as RWE, Bayernwerke (E.ON), have developed their own IEC 60870-5-101 based standards. The "Norwegian IEC 870-5-101 User Convention", managing line redundancy in particular, has found wide acceptance in Scandinavian countries.

IEC 60870-5-101 is known for the resilience of its link layer and for its simply structured application layer. The main focus was placed on on performance definition, so that some information needed for data decoding is not transmitted. For data decoding to work, parameter settings such as information object length, ASDU address length etc. need to be correct. This is not much of a problem, as interoperability lists help to achieve this.

Fragmentary protocol definition has its disadvantages, especially with respect to line redundancy where a range of diverging implementations exist. A clear definition of project-specific requirements is recommended.

In addition to standard protocol functionalities, IEC 60870-5-101 also allows for extensions with proprietary vendor-specific functions. Though not used too often, this also carries the risk of incompatibilities.
 

ISO/OSI Model

7 Application Layer IEC 60870-5-101 Companion Standard
IEC 60870-5-5, IEC 60870-5-4, IEC 60870-5-3
6 Presentation Layer n/a
5 Session Layer n/a
4 Transport Layer n/a
3 Network Layer n/a
2 Link Layer balanced
IEC 60870-5-2
IEC 60870-5-1 (FT 1.2)
unbalanced
IEC 60870-5-2
IEC 60870-5-1 (FT 1.2)
1 Physical Layer RS232 (V.24)X.24/X.27

Supported Information Types

Control Direction Single Command
Double Command
Setpoint
Regulating step command
Monitoring Direction Single indication [1 Bit] with quality
Single indication [1 Bit] with quality and time tag
Double indication [2 bit] with quality
Double indication [2 bit] with quality and time tag
Measured scaled value with quality
Measured scaled value with quality and time tag
Measured normalized value with quality
Measured normalized value with quality and time tag
Measured floating point value with quality
Measured floating point value with quality and time tag
Bitpattern [32 bit] with quality
Bitpattern [32 bit] with quality and time tag
Counter value with quality
Counter value with quality and time tag
Step position value with quality
Step position value with quality and time tag
Event of protection equipment with quality and time tag

Protocol Features

Physical Layer PCM, Full-duplex operation in balanced mode, half-duplex operation in unbalanced mode
Link Layer Asymmetric transmission (unbalanced mode): Party line or point to point
Symmetric transmission (balanced mode): Only point to point is possible
Application Layer On-demand transmission (e. g. single indications, analogs, ...)
Spontaneous transmission (e. g. single indications with time tag, ...)
Direct command transmission (with select before operate)
Clock synchronization
File Transfer
Address Space Common Address of ASDU: 1..65535
Information object address: 1..16777215
Link address: 0..65535

Implemented Protocol Stacks

IEC 60870-5-101, Dialup MasterIEC 60870-5-101, Master
IEC 60870-5-101, Slave

Applicable Products

ipRouteipRouteRouter for IEC 870-5-101 and IEC 870-5-104 protocols
start price 970,- €
Details...
product/ipRoute/en/ipRoute.pdf
ipRouteDialupipRouteDialupIEC 870-5-101 router to connect RTUs and SCADA systems over dialup lines
Details...
product/ipRouteDialup/en/ipRouteDialup.pdf
ipConvLiteipConvLiteinexpensive protocol converter for standardized application
start price 1.800,- €
Details...
product/ipConvLite/en/ipConvLite_EN.pdf
ipConvOPCipConvOPCSoftwarepackage for conversion between OPC DA 3.0 Server and standard protocols
Details...
ipConvPBSipConvPBSUniversal protocol converter with integrated PROFIBUS-DP, slave interface
Details...
ipConvPBMipConvPBMUniversal protocol converter with integrated PROFIBUS-DP, master interface
Details...
ipConvPNMipConvPNMUniversal protocol converter with integrated PROFINET-IO, master interface
Available soon !
Details...
ipConvPNSipConvPNSUniversal protocol converter with integrated PROFINET-IO, slave interface
Details...
ipConvipConvUniversal protocol converter for highest degree of flexibility
Details...
product/ipConv/en/ipConv_en.pdf
Fink WinPP Protocol SimulatorFink WinPP Protocol SimulatorSimulationsoftware for IEC 60870-5-101, IEC 60870-5-102, IEC 60870-5-103, IEC 60870-5-104, SINAUT 8-FW 16-1024 PCM/DPDM
Details...

References

Ballia-Bhiwadi, IndiaBallia-Bhiwadi, India
Details...
IndiaipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Master / IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / Simatic TDC, Master /
SEC SVC, Saudi ArabiaSEC SVC, Saudi Arabia
Details...
Saudi ArabiaipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 61850, Client / Simatic TDC, Master /
I-SHAPEI-SHAPE
Details...
ThailandipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / XMAT, Master /
BLS AlpTransit - LötschbergtunnelBLS AlpTransit - Lötschbergtunnel
Details...
SwitzerlandipConv ipRoute OPC DA 3.0, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Master / SNMP, Client /
Mainova Communication HubMainova Communication Hub
Details...
GermanyipConv OPC DAXML 1.01, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Master / Modbus, Master / SEAB 1F, Master /
FSC HECHIFSC HECHI
Details...
ChinaipConv SC1801, Slave / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / Simadyn-D, Master /
FRANKENDATAFRANKENDATA
Details...
GermanyipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Master / SISA, QD2 Slave /
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