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IEC 60870-5-103

DOWNSupported Standardized Information Types
DOWNSelection of Supported Generic Information Types
DOWNProtocol Features
DOWNImplemented Protocol Stacks
DOWNApplicable Products

IEC 60870-5-103 is an international standard, released by IEC (International Electrotechnical Comission) at the beginning of the 90ies. It allows the coupling of a central unit to several protection devices and is primarily used in the energy sector. The standardized function range is especially designed for the communication with protection devices and therefore it's difficulty to adapt it to other applications.

The protocol is based on the EPA architecture (Enhanced Performance Architecture), defining only the physical link and application layer of the OSI layer model.

IEC 60870-5-103 is mainly used for relatively slow transmission media on asynchronous V.24 (RS232) and RS485 interfaces. Connection via fibre optics is also covered by the standard. The transmission speed in general is specified with a maximum of 19200 Baud.

IEC 60870-5-103 is a 'Companion Standard' and is extended by the following standards:

  • IEC 60870-5-1
    defines different frame formats, IEC 60870-5-103 applies only the FT1.2 format
  • IEC 60870-5-2
    defines the transmission mode on the link layer
  • IEC 60870-5-3
    defines the basic application data structure
  • IEC 60870-5-4
    defines how information elements are encoded
  • IEC 60870-5-5
    defines basic application layer functions

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 defines the possible function range.

In addition to standard protocol functions, IEC 60870-5-103 also accommodates extensions for proprietary vendor-specific functions. These are used extensively by manufacturers of protection devices. As a result compatibility between devices by different vendors cannot always be ensured. The function range can further be extended by using generic data objects, which allow the transmission of any kind of information in both directions.


7 Application Layer IEC 60870-5-103
IEC 60870-5-5, IEC 60870-5-4
6 Presentation Layer n/a
5 Session Layer n/a
4 Transport Layer n/a
3 Network Layer n/a
2 Link Layer unbalanced
IEC 60870-5-2
IEC 60870-5-1 (FT 1.2)
1 Physical Layer EIA RS485, RS232 (V.24), Fibre Optics

Supported Standardized Information Types

Control Direction Double Command
Monitoring Direction Double indication [2 bit] with quality and time tag
Double indication [2 bit] with quality, time tag and relative time
Measured normalized value with quality
Measured floating point value with quality, time tag and relative time

Selection of Supported Generic Information Types

Control Direction Single indication [1 Bit]
Double indication [2 bit]
ASCII 8-bit code
Measured scaled value
Measured floating point value
Monitoring Direction Single indication [1 Bit]
Double indication [2 bit]
ASCII 8-bit code
Measured scaled value
Measured floating point value

Protocol Features

Physical Layer PCM, half-duplex
Link Layer Party line or point to point
Application Layer On-demand transmission (e. g. double indications, analogs, ...)
Spontaneous transmission (e. g. double indications with time tag, ...)
Command execution
Clock synchronization
Address Space Link address: 0..255
Common Address of ASDU: 1..255
Function Type: 0..253
Information number: 0..255

Implemented Protocol Stacks

IEC 60870-5-103, MasterIEC 60870-5-103, Slave

Applicable Products

ipConvipConvUniversal protocol converter for highest degree of flexibility
ipConvOPCipConvOPCSoftwarepackage for conversion between OPC DA 3.0 Server and standard protocols
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


SpainipConv IEC 60870-5-103, Master / IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Master / Simatic TDC, Master /
INELFE, France-SpainINELFE, France-Spain
France-SpainipConv IEC 60870-5-103, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 61850, Client / Simatic TDC, Master /
Altentreptow NorthAltentreptow North
GermanyipConv IEC 60870-5-103, Slave / IEC 61850, Client /
SwitzerlandipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 60870-5-103, Master / OPC DA 3.0, Server / OPC DA 3.0, Client / OPC AE 1.10, Client / OPC AE 1.10, Server /
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