IEC 61850 IEC 61850 Update Industry Updates

The parts of IEC 61850

by Christoph Brunner, it4power, Switzerland

I thought it might be useful to dedicate a column providing an overview of the various parts of IEC 61850.

Occasionally people tell me they have no idea, what the different parts of IEC 61850 are and what they describe. So, I thought it might be useful to dedicate one column to provide an overview of the various parts of IEC 61850.

Those readers that have ever attended an IEC 61850 training session with me know, that I typically say that IEC 61850 encompasses three main elements:

  • The communication
  • The data model, and
  • The ease of integration through the engineering support

And on top of that, we have the testing support.

Obviously, we can also classify the various parts of IEC 61850 along those topics, adding a group of more generic parts that exist as well.

The tables below provide an overview on the parts that are either published or have been circulated at least as a first draft. The column “Publication” shows the version of the publication; if empty, the first edition is still in development.

The column “Rev” shows the revision status. “Amd” means that an Amendment is in preparation; “Revision” means a new edition is in preparation. Technical reports from the IEC 61850-90-xx series are temporary “trial” models; they will be integrated in the core standards. If in the last column “Int” is indicated, that means, that the content has been integrated in a core part.

Table 1 shows the generic parts. Note that with the next revision, part 1 will be renamed to part 1-1. Table 2 shows are the communication related parts. They as well include protocol mappings for gateways (the 80-x series). The 90-1 and 90-2 include some modeling specifications as well. 90-1 has been fully integrated in Ed 2 of the core parts (part 7-4 for some modeling aspects; part 6 for engineering considerations and part 5 for requirements). For 90-2, the development of a technical specification is currently foreseen.

Part 90-19 is security related and describes how to handle role-based access. Part 90-20 describes aspects of functional redundancy including the cases where you have redundant devices connected to the communication network.

Table 3 for now is the one with documents related to testing. Note that part 10 will be renamed to part 10-1 with the next revision.

In the next issue, I will introduce the parts related to the semantic data model and the engineering.


Christoph Brunner is the President of his own independent consulting company it4power LLC based in Switzerland. He has over 25 years of experience with knowledge across several areas within the Utility Industry and of technologies from the Automation Industry. He has worked as a project manager at ABB Switzerland Ltd in the area of Power Technology Products in Zurich / Switzerland where he was responsible for the process close communication architecture of the automation system. He is Convener of WG 10 of the IEC TC57 and is a member of WG 17, 18 and 19 of IEC TC 57. He is member of IEEE-PES and IEEE-SA. He is an IEEE Fellow and is active in several working groups of the IEEE-PSRC and a member of the PSRC main committee and the subcommittee H. He is advisor to the board of the UCA international users group.