Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which serves the electric power industry worldwide, announces the availability of the SEL-2701 Ethernet Processor--an Ethernet physical interface and protocol processor specifically designed for the demands of the electrical industry.

Installed into host devices like the SEL-2030 Communications Processor and protection and automation devices such as SEL-400 series relays, the SEL-2701 provides secure Ethernet connectivity over wire and/or optical fiber networks.

Each SEL-2701 Ethernet Processor supports popular communications protocols and applications, including Telnet, FTP, TCP/IP and OSI stacks as well as the Utility Communications Architecture (UCA2). Use the SEL-2701 for automatic data gathering and control systems such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Digital Control Systems (DCS), Substation Automation and local Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) and for engineering desktop access.

Through an Ethernet network, the SEL-270l allows a Telnet client, such as a PC, to engage in virtual terminal Telnet dialogs to change settings on remote devices or query them for meter and status information. The SEL-2701 facilitates File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to download reports as files, including reports that support protection event analysis. In conjunction with an SEL-2030 Communications Processor, the SEL-2701 provides UCA2 connectivity for existing SEL products and many non-SEL devices.

Traditionally, ordinary Ethernet controllers share processing power between networking and primary processing functions. But the SEL-2701 acts as a dedicated communications processor, without jeopardizing the protective purpose of relays and other important, intelligent electronic devices.

"Protection engineers set and test a relay to be certain that it will perform correctly," says Gary Scheer, SEL's automation and communications equipment market manager. "If the communications protocol firmware executes in the same processor as the protection algorithms, then engineers must take the time to upgrade and revalidate the relay firmware when adopting any new or modified protocols. In contrast, the SEL-2701 allows engineers to change communications protocols without impacting the host relay or communications processor."

Each SEL-2701 Processor includes two Ethernet connections to support a primary and standby network connection. Engineers can specify the two ports in any combination of configurations: 10/100 BaseT twisted pair wires with RJ-45 connectors, 10BaseFL fiber-optic cables with ST connectors, or 100Base FX fiber-optics.

"Upon detecting a link failure on the primary LAN or WAN, the SEL-2701 automatically switches to the standby connection, so that communication is never lost," Scheer said. "Intelligent processes enable the device to determine when the primary communications link can be used again. Engineers can design systems with higher availability using this capability."

Offering a fiber-optic communications channel improves reliability and safety, as fiber-optic networks are less susceptible to electrical noise, while protecting staff and equipment from dangerous currents or voltages.

Like all of SEL's equipment, the 2701 Ethernet Processor is built to meet the rugged demands of substation environments, meeting appropriate standards for temperature, vibration, EMI, and "surge withstand."