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SCADA: New Challenges

Changing Scenario

Large changes are coming over the SCADA systems and their networking environment. The modern SCADA equipments are being fed with more and more computer power. This is because they have to meet increasing demands for information being made on them. To be more powerful, the new SCADA systems need networks like Ethernet, IP and frame relay for their operations.


Because of handling highly critical control functions, various networks like private wire/optical cable and private microwave are used by SCADA systems to ensure reliability. Only a strong network can avoid disasters like pipeline failure in oil well leaking oil from which can cause massive fires and also contaminate water with catastrophic consequences or failure of a power station causing major power breakdown.

Data Communications

Current SCADA networking practices are getting significant challenges from a new environment being evolved out of data communication networks. Demands for more information means higher data rates through incorporating higher computer power in the SCADA systems.


More computer power and modern networks pose higher challenges for the SCADA equipments. The points of meeting these challenges are SCADA protocols. The new SCADA environment is Ethernet/IP protocols, higher speed and frame relay. Integrating these networks with SCADA is the important challenge. The dichotomy of industrial SCADA equipments and networking technology is that whereas the average lifespan of the former is more than ten years, the latter undergoes many changes during that period as technology changes faster. It is through network protocols that the SCADA protocols are transported. However the networks and their protocols pose limitation while interacting with the SCADA protocols. Delays and short gaps in data and absence of Data Carrier Detect (DCD) transitions are caused by the characteristics of different network protocols like Ethernet, IP, etc. These lead SCADA protocols to presume links errors. As a result of this deficiency in transition of control signal, microwave radio link cannot be keyed.

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