Multi-rings help wind farms communicate

02 August 2011

Compact modular switches from Hirschmann can be found in most wind turbines in use today to ensure secure communication within the system. All the data required to monitor and manage the wind turbines is transmitted quickly and securely.

With the aid of the Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP), an open standard (IEC 62439) supported by the majority of managed Hirschmann switches, it is now possible to link several subrings together via a backbone ring.

MRP allows you to configure rings with transmission rates of up to 10,000 Mbit/sec, and up to 50 switches in a single subring. Depending on the parameter settings and number of users, deterministic downtimes can be less than 10ms, with a total network distance of over 3,000km.

Network reliability can be enhanced by using a subring to span two switches in the main ring. If this level of redundancy is not required, the subring can also be connected to just one switch.

Wind farms, in particular, stand to benefit from a network structure based on MRP, becuase the individual lines of the wind turbines are segmented into subrings and then linked up via a data cable to form a ring structure.

Belden's single-mode fiber cables are often used in onshore applications, in which case the backbone ring is usually situated on a platform, in the control room, or in a transformer station.

The ring topology means there is no longer any ‚single point of failure’. Thanks to Option 82, maintenance can be carried out during operation without impairing performance. Integrated in the managed Hirschmann switches, this feature separates communication within the ring from communication within the wind turbine.

The use of multi-rings makes for a more compact network structure, substantially reducing the amount of switches and cabling required. What is more, configuration and installation are easier, helping to cut costs and boost efficiency of the entire wind farm.

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