Blueprint for Pan-European Resilient Critical Infrastructures based on LTE communications

Sep. 01, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2018

Project Objectives:
BERCOM addresses the issue of resilient energy supply and communication capabilities for controling units of critical infrastructures under adverse circumstances like massive power failures or cyberattacks. A key component for the resilience is a specifically hardened mobile communication infrastructure.

For securing uninterrupted operation of the power grid, it is necessary that controling units of the energy network receive sufficient power supply and maintain their communication capabilities under adverse incidents. Potential impairments need to be detected pro-actively at an early stage. It must be prevented that local disruptions trigger a chain reaction and propagate in the grid. Countermeasures have to be initiated that lead to a fast return to normal operation. Mobile technologies can introduce here significant improvements.

BERCOM develops under the headline SCADAoverLTE a solution that allows for an evolutionary advancement of current automation technologies, and it adapts standardized communication technologies to the strict requirements of critical infrastructures. SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition and refers to   process control systems in large-scale industry and manufacturing. Today's SCADA systems are in general proprietary closed systems, and there is need to create a transitional path for automation  towards openness and to bind it to the current and emerging state of the art in ICT technologies.

Today's rolled-out LTE networks offer already many features that help to increase the resilience of the energy grid and other critical infrastructures. The strict requirements on the underlying communication infrastructure posed by safety-critical application areas with respect to latency, bandwidth and service quality will only be fully met by the next generation of mobile technologies. The technical roadmap and timeline for 5G, however,  matches here with the time scale envisoned by BERCOM, such that harsher assumptions as currently supported by 4G technologies can be taken into account as a basis for the project goals.

Fraunhofer FOKUS Contribution:
Fraunhofer FOKUS offers with its toolkits Open5GMTC and Open5Gcore within the 5G Berlin Playground an experimental platform for realizing the BERCOM demonstration scenarios. The focus of developments in the project will lie on the integration of  eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), which allows to use broadcast and multicast services on the radio cell level. Such group communication capabilities are essential for safety-critical applications, to ensure secure and efficient communication even under constrained conditions.

Main Project Results:
The project will deliver a validated solution for a highly resilient distributed energy system leveraging a specifically hardened LTE-based communication infrastructure. They form the basis for the future design of distributed energy systems and other distributed critical infrastructures. In addition to concrete technology demonstrations (such as LTE-based SCADA services), the project will develop innovative methodologies. The concepts to be developed and validated shall form the basis of a pan-European strategy for increased civil security.

Funding Programme:
BERCOM is a Franco-German research collaboration. For German partners, Federal Ministry of Education and Research "Civil Security - Protection of Critical Infrastructure " as part of the program "Research for Civil Security 2012 - 2017" by the German Government

Project Partners:

German Consortium
  • P3 Group,  global management consultancy (German Coordinator)
  • PSI AG, process control system solutions
  • WSB Neue Energien GmbH, wind power projects
  • Institut für Hochspannungstechnik - RWTH Aachen
  • Lehrstuhl für Systemsicherheit  - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Lehrstuhl für Kommunikationsnetze - Technischen Universität Dortmund 
French Consortium
  • CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternative) French Coordinator
  • Électricité de France
  • Airbus Defence & Space
  • Air-Lynx, LTE solutions for professional applications
  • Navecom, consultancy on communications systems for critical infrastructures

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