The high penetration of variable and non-programmable distributed micro-generation of energy for smart buildings, smart homes, and smart industries has brought new challenges to the operation of electrical power systems. This new environment needs a smarter network considering the transformation of the simple customer of the power grid into a “Smart Customer” and, many times, a “Prosumer” (Producer / Consumer). Implementing Smart Power Grid (SPG) requires (1) data analysis algorithms to evaluate data generated by the smart devices and by the smart meters, and (2) performance evaluation of the various possible architectures to interconnect all elements of the SPG at the level of the link and physical layers. As important as the performance of the architecture is the security of the environment. With control packets sharing the network and compute infrastructure and with the user being able to manage the power of his/her residence/plant, it is important to design a system architecture where the exploitation of known network security flaws is minimized and, when new network security threats are discovered, the entire sliced system can be easily updated. Designing such an architecture requires (1) a methodology to validate the software used in all architecture components, with more attention to the embedded software, before the deployment; and (2) a scheduled routine to check the full system periodically, e.g., for anomaly detection.
Recent work has highlighted that, although edge computing is a promising architecture for implementing SPGs, some challenges need to be addressed when this architecture is deployed over a 5G network. For instance, in this architecture, overcrowding should not increase latency at more critical times. Reliability in a multi-tenancy environment, even in cases of disconnection for short periods, should be ensured. Computational platforms that do not have the same capacity as cloud computing need to be capable of executing security mechanisms, and multiple IoT manufacturers and platforms need to interoperate.
This research strand will design an architecture based on 5G (and Beyond-5G) footprints to enable efficient and secure mMTC and URLLC services between the elements of Industrial Internet applications, including SPG. The architecture will be evaluated via simulation and emulation, considering data from real devices and simulators. Regarding security, fuzz testing mechanisms will be considered to evaluate the security of smart objects software. Network virtualization will be used to create network topologies on demand to evaluate the system against new vulnerabilities. The findings of this research strand will benefit several Industrial Internet applications in terms of security and communication requirements.