Timing Intrusion Management Ensuring Resiliency (TIMER)

Synchrophasor systems have a much more accurate tracking capability than EMS enabled by the use of PMUs for globally synchronized monitoring of the grid behavior for both real-time operations and offline engineering analyses to improve grid reliability and efficiency and lower operating costs. The PMUs use the timing clock and running time code derived from Global Position System (GPS) receivers to realize precise synchronous sampling of the phasor measurements at all PMU locations across the entire electricity system. This time-synchronized sampling feature produces a stream of synchronized phasor data reported 30-120 times a second, thereby enabling operators and automated applications to make real-time, informed decisions about power system dynamics at an unprecedented time-resolution accuracy. As a consequence, the entire synchrophasor system performance is dependent on the accurate timing derived not just from the GPS receiver outputs but throughout the system, from synchrophasor processing nodes (PMUs and PDCs) to communication links.


The objective of this project is to assure that the synchrophasor systems are resilient, even under targeted timing intrusion (TI) attacks. This level of resiliency will be achieved by a TI management strategy that deploys TI detection modules developed under the auspices of this project system wide. To facilitate a comprehensive design of the detection modules, the entire synchrophasor system architecture is defined in terms of “nodes” and “links,” where nodes represent components of the synchrophasor systems, and links represent physical communication links, tunnels, end-to-end connections, and protocols. Examples of the nodes include GPS receivers, PMUs, and PDCs (at different levels: substation, TO Control Center, ISO/RTO Control Center). Examples of the communication media and protocols include cable connections between GPS and PMU (IRIG-B) and cable or fiber connections between substation PMU and PDCs, and protocols TCP and ICCP. The objective is to ensure TI attacks on “nodes” and “links” are detected and managed timely to guarantee system trustworthiness. To implement the TI detection strategy, a series of test devices and software packages will be developed and deployed for the specific type and application tests performed in the field. This end-to-end evaluation approach allows a novel system-in-the loop (SIL) testing and calibration strategy to be implemented as needed to indicate whether the system responds as expected. Combined with the proposed detection modules, this advanced solution assures resiliency benefits at a reasonable cost. After successful evaluation, the tools will be commercially promoted by a vendor partner on this project.