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CH A P T E R 3

System Architecture

This chapter describes the FAN architecture for AMI with IOK in the head-end and the system
components, along with their specific roles in the architecture, and design specifications.
This chapter includes the following major topics:
• System Topology, page 3-1
• System Components, page 3-3
• System Design Specifications, page 3-7
• FAN—Network Infrastructure and Routing, page 3-8
• FAN Network Management, page 3-23
• FAN—Security, page 3-32
• FAN—High Availability, page 3-41
• FAN—Sizing and Scaling, page 3-42
• Architecture Summary and Implementation Guidelines, page 3-42

System Topology
Figure 3-1 shows the overview of the system topology.

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System Topology

Figure 3-1 Field Area Network—System Topology

Energy Operaons Center

Cisco UCS C460 Industrial Operaons Kit(IOK) Applicaon
Internal subnet
HER Itron
1000v traon + Collecon
Oracle FreeRadi RSA CA
5921 (cluster) Engine
(cluster) DB us

DMZ subnet Data Center subnet

vmnic 1 vmnic 0

ASA 5545-X

IPsec tunnel
Firewall with
Ulity Data Center

Ethernet Acve ECC CA
Directory Server

Eth2/1 Eth2/1 CGR 1240

Field Area
IEEE Area VMs within IOK
802.15.4g/e Network(NAN)

RF mesh

The smart meters or the Connected Grid endpoints interconnect with the CGR 1000 Series routers over
the sub-GHz RF mesh network, forming the Neighborhood Area Network (NAN). The CGRs, or the field
area routers, connect to the WAN backhaul, which may be public or private (i.e., utility owned). The
choices for WAN backhaul include Ethernet/Fiber, Cellular 3G/4G, WiMAX, and others. The solution
is validated using an Ethernet connection as a WAN backhaul, hence the Ethernet ports of the CGR are
configured and enabled.
The Energy Operations Center houses all the application head-end components, such as collection
engine, OMS, DMS, MDMS, etc. and communication head-end components, such as network
management services, directory services, AAA services, etc. The communications head-end in the
current solution is the virtualized head-end in a box, namely the Cisco Industrial Operations Kit (IOK).
The Energy Operations Center may be co-located with the Data Center in some deployments or may be
distinct. The solution leverages the functionality of certain components housed in the utility data center.
They should be reachable from the head-end systems by IP.
The Cisco ASA firewall secures the WAN link to the head-end containing the Cisco Industrial
Operations Kit (IOK). The IOK exposes the components, which are internally wired, through the vmnic0
and vmnic1 network interfaces.
The vmnic0 interface interconnects the TPS, Registration Authority, and head-end routers and must be
connected to the DMZ subnet.
The vmnic1 interface interconnects the head-end routers, FND, orchestrator, registration authority, and
the RSA based Certificate Authority and must be connected to the data center subnet.

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System Components
This section describes the components used in the solution and their functional roles.

Cisco Industrial Operations Kit (IOK) Components

The IOK software bundle is installed on a single physical server after considering the necessary criteria
outlined in the Industrial Operations Kit Management Software User Guide. The Cisco UCS C250 M2
Dual 3.0 GHz E5-2690 is recommended for IOK.
It is recommended to use VMware ESXi v5.1 or v5.5. Customization of the internal design and
networking elements of IOK is not recommended.
The following components exist as virtual machines within the Cisco IOK.

Cisco IoT Field Network Director (FND) with Oracle Database

The Cisco IoT Field Network Director (formerly called Connected Grid Network Management System
[CG-NMS]) is a software platform that manages the infrastructure for smart grid applications. It
provides enhanced fault, configuration, accounting performance, and security (FCAPS) capabilities for
highly scalable and distributed systems such as smart metering and distribution automation. Additional
capabilities of the FND are:
• Network Topology visualization and integration with existing Geological Information System
• Simple, consistent, and scalable network layer security policy management and auditing.
• Extensive network communication troubleshooting tools.
• Northbound APIs are provided for utility applications such as Distribution Management System
(DMS), Outage Management System (OMS), and Meter Data Management (MDM).
• Zero Touch Deployment for Field Area Routers.
Built within the IoT FND virtual machine, the FND database is an Oracle database that stores all the
information managed by the FND. This includes all metrics received from mesh endpoints, all device
properties, firmware images, configuration templates, logs, event information, etc.

Tunnel Provisioning Server

The Tunnel Provisioning Server acts as a proxy to allow CGRs to communicate with the FND when they
are first deployed in the field. After TPS provisions the tunnels between CGRs and the Head-end router,
the CGRs can communicate with the FND directly.

Head-End Routers (HERs)

The primary function of a head-end router is to aggregate the WAN connections coming from field area
routers. Head-end routers terminate the VPN tunnels from the CGRs. HERs may also enforce QoS,
profiling (Flexible Netflow), and security policies.
Five CSR 1000V routers are clustered in the IOK and act as the HERs to facilitate increased scalability
of tunnels from the CGRs. One of them acts as the master and load balances the incoming traffic among
the five HERs.

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Registration Authority (RA)

The RA acts as a proxy to the CA server in the backend for automated certificate enrollment for
connected grid end-points and FARs. The CGR or FAN device must go through the RA and TPS to
establish a secure tunnel with the HER. Before this tunnel is established, the device cannot reach the data
center network.
A Cisco IOS router can be configured as Certificate Server—Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol
(SCEP) in Registration Authority mode.
The Cisco 5921 Embedded Services Router (ESR) acts as the RA within the IOK. The Cisco 5921 ESR
is designed to operate on small, low power, Linux-based platforms. It helps integration partners extend
the use of Cisco IOS into extremely mobile and portable communications systems. It also provides
highly secure data, voice, and video communications to stationary and mobile network nodes across
wired and wireless links.

RSA Certificate Authority (CA)

The IOK includes an RSA Certificate Authority to provide certificates to network components such as
routers and the FND. For meter endpoints, ECC Certificate Authority based on Windows needs to be
additionally deployed.
This solution makes use of the RSA Certificate Authority within the IOK. Alternately, an external
utility-owned, RSA-based Certificate Authority may be used.

Orchestrator with FreeRADIUS

The orchestration virtual machine provides orchestration and management service for all IOK
components. The following are some of the functions carried out by the orchestration VM:
• Monitors virtual machine status and provides VM restart functionality.
• Manages individual components.
• Provides license import capability for HER, Certificate Authority, and FND.
• Selects registration authority end device support type among routers supported by the IOK.
• Displays system topology with IP information.
• Displays user XML configuration file utilized for deployment.
• Tracks and displays event log.
• Provides IOK System Backup and restore.
• Provides IOK upgrade with patch file.
• Provides pre-ZTD configuration of routers through the terminal server.
The Orchestrator VM is also bundled with FreeRADIUS. FreeRADIUS provides RADIUS-based AAA
services for network admission control of FAN devices such as CGRs and meters. It supports the
certificate-base identity authentication used in this solution.
Larger deployments may consider an AAA server for device access control that supports TACACS+,
such as the Cisco ACS.

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ECC-Based Certificate Authority (CA) Server

This Certificate Authority is capable of ECC cryptography to facilitate authentication of meters and
should be deployed outside the IOK.
The Certificate Authority is responsible for generating or revoking digital certificates assigned to
devices on the grid. These Certificate Authorities are unconditionally trusted and are the root of all
certificate chains.

Active Directory
The Active Directory is a part of the Utility Data center and provides directory services. The Active
Directory can act as a user identity data store for FreeRADIUS when there are a large number of meters
to be authenticated. For smaller number of devices, FreeRADIUS’ local database may be used. It stores
identity information of the CGR 1000 series routers and meters and provides authentication of the
devices in the Field Area Network.

Collection Engine
The collection engine is a centralized AMI application management tool which receives meter data from
the NAN and processes or forwards it to other AMI applications. It provides the interface between the
metering system and utility processes such as meter data management, billing, and outage management.

Field Area Router (FAR)

The Field Area Router is a communication device that acts as a gateway for smart meters in the NAN. It
may be installed on distribution poles/pad-mount transformers, towers, streetlights, etc. and aggregates
traffic from multiple meters and forwards it to the AMI data center. The CGR 1240 is a dual-stack
ruggedized communication device which acts as the FAR. The CGR must run on Cisco IOS software.
The Cisco IOS also acts as a DHCPv6 server for FAN endpoints.

Connected Grid Endpoints—Smart Meters

Smart meters are the Connected Grid Endpoints in the AMI system which are capable of RF
communication. They are IP-enabled devices with embedded OS, IP networking stack, network device
drivers, and application API. They contain an IEEE 802.15.4g/e NAN interface and consist of the meter
communications module hardware and software. They are installed at a utility customer location, which
may be residential or commercial. Every meter is a voltage sensor which can measure power and is
capable of forming an RF mesh.

A high performance, application-aware firewall with IPS/IDS capability should be installed between the
WAN and the head-end infrastructure at the EOC. The firewall performs inspection of IPv4 and IPv6
traffic from/to the FAN. Its throughput capacity must match the volume of traffic flowing between the
application servers and the FANs.
Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA) 5585-X running release Cisco ASA Software Release 9.3
should be used. Cisco ASA 5585-X is a high-performance data center security solution. For smaller
deployments, low and mid-range firewalls such as the ASA 5525-X and the ASA 5545-X may be used.

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The ASA FirePOWER module may be added for next generation firewall services such as Intrusion
Prevention (IPS), Application Visibility Control (AVC), URL filtering, and Advanced Malware
Protection (AMP).
Firewalls can be configured for multiple (virtual) security contexts. For instance, FAR provisioning
network servers can be on a different context from infrastructure servers for segmentation. Firewalls are
best deployed in pairs to permit failover in case of malfunction.

Network Time Protocol (NTP) Server

Certain services running on the FAN require accurate time synchronization between the network
elements. Many of these applications process a time-ordered sequence of events, so the events must be
time stamped to a level of precision that allows individual events can be distinguished from one another
and correctly ordered. A Network Time Protocol (NTP) version 4 server running over the IPv4 and IPv6
network layer can act as a Stratum 1 timing source for the network.
Over the FAN, the NTP might deliver accuracies of 10 to 100 milliseconds, depending on the
characteristics of the synchronization source and network paths in the WAN.
Some of the applications that require time stamping or precise synchronization are:
• Time stamps for meter readings, asynchronous notifications from meters, log entries, etc.
• Validation of X.509 certificates used for device authentication, specifically to ensure that the
certificates are not expired.

FAN—Cisco Products
Table 3-1 lists the Cisco products used in the implementation of the Field Area Network.

Table 3-1 Cisco Products in the Field Area Network

Cisco Product Software Release Description

Connected Grid Series 1000 - Cisco IOS 15.4(3) M2 Field area router, also acting as the IPv6 DHCP server.
CGR 1240
Cisco Industrial Operations 2.0.16 Virtualized head-end in a box.
Kit (IOK)
IOT FND FND 3.0.0-69 Network management system for connected grid.
CSR1000V Cisco IOS XE 3.14.01 Head-end router.
Registration Authority c5921i86-universalk9-ms.154 Proxy to the Certificate Authority in the DMZ.
ASA 5585-X Firewall ASA Firewall with IPS/IDS capabilities. ASA 5545-X and 5525-X
may be considered for smaller deployments.
UCS C-460 ESXi 5.5 UCS server on which IOK is installed. Hardware
requirements: 2 CPUs with 8 cores per CPU, with each
running at 2GHz, 48 GB of memory (with 1 HER (CSR)
deployed), 1 TB Hard Disk Drive with a minimum of 10000
rpm, and at least 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
UCS C250 M2 or C220 may be considered as a low-cost
alternative, if other criteria are met.

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FAN—Third-Party Products
Table 3-2 lists the third-party products used in the Field Area Network.

Table 3-2 Third-Party Products in the Field Area Network

Vendor Product Release Description

Itron OpenWay residential meters SR 5.0 with CG-Mesh version Smart meters
Itron OpenWay Collection Engine 5.5 Collection engine for meter

System Design Specifications

This section of the design and implementation guide describes the various system design specifications
for the Field Area Network. It is further divided into the following sub-sections:
• Open Standards-Based FAN Model—An introduction to the open standards governing the Field
Area Network system design.
• FAN—Network Infrastructure and Routing—Description of the network elements that form the
NAN, such as CG-Mesh, the WAN backhaul, routing in the NAN and WAN layers, IP addressing,
IP multicast, and IPv4 and IPv6 capabilities of the network.
• FAN Network Management—Description of the elements of the network management system in the
FAN, such as IOK orchestration, the IoT Field Network Director, zero touch deployment, and zero
touch deployment staging.
• FAN—Security—Description of the elements of network security in the FAN, such as access
control, data privacy, confidentiality and integrity, threat defense and mitigation, and device and
platform integrity.
• FAN—Sizing and Scaling—Description of sizing and scaling parameters for FAN.
• Architecture Summary and Implementation Guidelines—A summary of the design specifications
and guidance on the implementation procedure.

Open Standards-Based FAN Model

The multi-services Field Area Network design is based on open standards. Cisco delivers an IP-based,
highly secure, and scalable communications platform that is simple to deploy and manage and extensible
to multiple utility applications. The resulting field area communication platform is designed to support
an array of consumer and utility owned smart edge devices including, but not limited to, metering,
intelligent distribution automation, and interfaces to the customer premise.
The following are FAN features:
• Open standards at all levels to ensure interoperability and reduce technology risk for utilities.
• Future proofing common application layer services over various wired and wireless communication
Figure 3-2 depicts the open standards implemented at each stage in the network.

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Figure 3-2 Field Area Network—Open Standards Reference Model

FAN—Network Infrastructure and Routing

NAN Network Connectivity

Smart Meters

A smart meter is different from a legacy meter in that it is capable of two-way communication and
typically has an IP address. In the context of the FAN, the smart meters form the Connected Grid
endpoints. These smart meters are IP-enabled grid devices with an embedded IPv6-based
communication stack powered by the Cisco SDK library.
Refer the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) to learn more about IP enablement for partner technologies.

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Figure 3-3 IP-Enabled Grid Devices—Communication Stack

Mgmt: CSMP


IPv6 Roung: RPL

802.1x / EAP-TLS
based Access Control Soluon

Adaptaon: 6lowpan (RFC 6282)

MAC: IEEE 802.15.4e


PHY: IEEE 802.15.4g


The Connected Grid Endpoints (CGEs) or smart meters form an RF-based mesh network. The endpoints
are capable of IEEE 802.15.4g Smart Utility Networks (SUN) and IEEE 802.15.4e MAC sub-layer
enhancements supporting PHYs SUN, which are physical layer communication standards for low-rate
personal area networks. The CGEs are certified for the Wi-SUN 1.0 PHY profile. The current
implementation supports frequencies in the range of 902-928 MHz, with 64 non-overlapping channels
and 400 kHz spacing for North America. A subset of North-America frequency bands for Brazil,
Australia, Hong-Kong, Japan, etc. require modification of the endpoints at the time of manufacturing.
Sub 900 MHz 863-870MHz (or new 870-876 MHz frequency band allocated by CEPT) for Europe are
expected in the near future.
The 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks) interface acts as an adaptation
layer over the IEEE 802.15.4 layer to enable IPv6 communication on the IEEE 802.15.4g/e RF mesh. It
provides header compression, IPv6 datagram fragmentation, and optimized IPv6 neighbor discovery,
thus enabling efficient IPv6 communication over the low-power and lossy links such as the ones defined
by IEEE 802.15.4.
The smart meters are provisioned with IPv6 addresses by the Field Area Routers, i.e., the CGR 1000
series routers through DHCP for IPv6 services. They also receive additional parameters such as IOT
FND and CE IPv6 address through DHCP for IPv6.

Personal Area Network (PAN)

The CGR is provisioned with a Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) module and each PAN in the
NAN maps to a specific WPAN module in the CGR.
The WPAN module in the CGR provides the following functionality:
• 902-to-928 MHz ISM band frequency hopping technology
• Dynamic network discovery and self-healing network capabilities based on IPv6, IEEE 802.15.4e/g
(IETF 6LoWPAN [RFC 6282]), and IETF RPL
• Robust security functionality including Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit encryption,
IEEE 802.1X, and IEEE 802.11i based-mesh security
• WPAN module firmware upgrade functionality

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• WPAN module interface statistics and status

The IEEE 802.15.4e/g WPAN module hardware contains the following:
• Micro-controller, an RF transceiver operating in the 902-to-928 MHz ISM band
• Frequency synthesizer
• RF Micro Devices RF6559 front-end module
Layer 3 interfaces on the CGR 1000, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, fiber, or cellular must be enabled and
properly addressed and must get their directly connected IPv4 and/or IPv6 prefixes advertised through
the chosen WAN routing protocol. Route entries must be added on the head-end router and other FARs.
Loopback interfaces must be enabled for network management, local applications, and tunnel or routing
The WPAN module is configured with a PAN ID, which is a 16-bit field, described in the IEEE 802.15.4
specification. It is received and used by all devices grouped in the same PAN. A smart meter is a node
in the RPL tree and can only be a part of a single PAN at a time.
Apart from the PAN ID, CGEs or smart meters are configured with a particular SSID, similar to an IEEE
802.11 SSID at the time of manufacturing. This acts as an identifier for the utility network. It represents
the network name that is advertised through IEEE 802.15.4e enhanced frames that can pass additional
vendor information. The network name is included in the IEEE 802.15.4 Enhanced Beacons using an
Information Element. This SSID must be configured on the CGR as well. All IEEE 802.15.4 messages,
except IEEE 802.15.4 Enhanced Broadcast and Enhanced Beacon Request (EBR) messages are sent with
a destination PAN identical to the source PAN.
A CGR can be configured with dual WPANs for either of the following scenarios:
• Multiple WPANs can operate in the network, each as independent WPAN and independent
CG-Mesh. In this configuration, each WPAN forms a separate RPL tree and mesh and each must
have a unique IPv6 prefix and Service Set Identifier (SSID).
• A WPAN can also operate in a master-slave configuration. The master WPAN owns the RPL tree
and the mesh and all IPv6 and 802.1X traffic flows through the master WPAN from the perspective
of the CGR and FND. Conceptually, the slave WPAN acts only as a NIC at the MAC and PHY layer.
In that sense, the slave WPAN is attached to the master WPAN.
However, the current solution does not feature dual WPANs. Dual WPANs may be provisioned after
appropriate RF planning and considering antenna recommendations.
EBRs allow CGEs to obtain information about neighboring PANs even while joined to a specific PAN.
EBR messages contain information elements that provide some information about the transmitting
node’s RPL routing metric (that is, METX) and size of the PAN. Routing metric information is included
so that nodes can make some determination about how a path to a FAR might improve if the node
switches to a different PAN and uses the neighbor as a default route in that new PAN. The PAN network
size is used to perform load balancing between PANs and help ensure that a single PAN does not carry
an unnecessary burden.
If a CGR fails, a CGE can migrate to another available PAN to facilitate resiliency. PAN migrations may
happen based on PAN size and path metrics. CG-Mesh tries to balance neighboring PANs by each meter
selecting their PAN based on PAN size and path metrics. There is a tendency to select smaller PAN and
better path metrics. Typical deployment will have meter-to-CGR ratio that allows this (for example
2500:1 instead of 5000:1) for robustness and redundancy. PAN migration events will be reported to FND
via CSMP.
Figure 3-4 is a schematic representation of PAN migration. Nodes are initially associated to either PAN1
or PAN2. When CGR2 fails, nodes migrate to PAN1 using PAN size and path metrics.

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Figure 3-4 PAN Migration Following a CGR Failure



RF mesh associated
with PAN 2
RF mesh associated
with PAN 1



RF mesh associated
with PAN 2 375612

RF mesh associated
with PAN 1

CGEs implement standard IPv6 services. The IPv6 layer also uses the mesh interface to forward IPv6
datagrams across other communication modules.
RFC 768 User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is the recommended transport layer over 6LoWPAN.
Table 3-3 summarizes the protocols applied at each layer of the neighborhood area network.

Table 3-3 Summary of Network Protocols in the NAN

Networking Layers Networking Protocols and Elements

Transport UDP
Network 6LoWPAN, IPv6 addressing, RPL, Neighbor Discovery for IPv6, DHCPv6
MAC IEEE 802.15.4e, PAN ID
Physical RF sub-GHz, frequency hopping, IEEE 802.15.4g

CG-Mesh is the embedded firmware for Smart Grid assets within a Neighborhood Area Network that
supports an end-to-end IPv6 communication network using mesh networking technology. CG-Mesh is
embedded in Smart Grid endpoints, such as residential electric meters using IP Layer 3 mesh networking
technology, that perform end-to-end IPv6 networking functions on the communication module.
Connected Grid Endpoints (CGEs) support an IEEE 802.15.4e/g interface and standards-based IPv6
communication stack, including security and network management.
CG-Mesh supports a frequency-hopping radio link, network discovery, link-layer network access
control, network-layer auto configuration, IPv6 routing and forwarding, firmware upgrade, and power
outage notification.

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CG-Mesh Deployment

The following points summarize the deployment of the CG-Mesh:

• The meter manufacturer loads the firmware to the communication module of the meters and
performs customer specific configuration. Meters are factory-configured for EUI64 (MAC), SSID,
regional compliance factors, certificates such as unique meter certificate, AAA CA certificate, and
NMS certificate.
• CG-Mesh nodes can become manageable via CSMP (CoAP Simple Management Protocol) once
they are registered with FND.
• The CGR or the Field Area Router must also be registered with the FND.
• The CGR is configured by the FND. CG-Mesh related configuration should not be manipulated
directly through the CGR CLI.

CG-Mesh Formation

When meters join the network on booting for the first time, the process is referred to as cold boot. A cold
boot is when the meter has not yet been authenticated because it is the first time the meter is joining the
network or the meter key has expired.
The process is referred to as warm boot when the meter has a working key, in which case authentication
has already been established and the meter joins the mesh quickly.
The steps followed for the initial connected grid mesh formation (cold boot) are outlined in Figure 3-5.

Figure 3-5 Meters Joining the Network—Cold Boot


RADIUS Server DHCP Server FND Server


Connected Grid CSMP

802.1X, RPL DHCPv6 RPL
joining the mesh

Network Mesh Access Route IPv6 Address Route FND


Discovery Control Discovery Assignment Registration Registration

Consider the following points:

• Meters are factory configured with an SSID.
• Network Discovery—Beaconing is done every time the node boots and continuously thereafter.
• CG-Mesh Access Control—Nodes are authenticated using 802.1X authentication.
• Route discovery.
• RPL default route is selected.
• IPv6 address assignment from the CGR.
• Route registration.
• RPL tree formation.
• FND Registration (CoAP/CSMP).

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In case of a node reboot or PAN migration (warm start), the node has cached data and the last two steps
may be omitted.
The steps involved in the warm boot of meters are shown in Figure 3-6.

Figure 3-6 Meters Joining the Network—Warm Boot


r r DHCP Server FND Server


Connected Grid CSMP

02.1x, RPL DHCPv6 RPL
Meter joining
the mesh

Network Mesh Access Route IPv6 Address Route FND

Discovery Control Discovery Assignment Registration Registration
are cached


Consider the following:

• Meters are factory configured with an SSID.
• Network Discovery—Beaconing done every time the node boots and continuously thereafter.
• Route discovery.
• RPL default route is selected.
• IPv6 address assignment from the CGR.
• Route registration.
• RPL tree formation.
• FND Registration (CoAP/CSMP).
In case of a multi-hop mesh, a new meter may join an already formed mesh. The steps shown in
Figure 3-7 are of a meter joining such a mesh.

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Figure 3-7 Meters Joining the Network—New Meters Joining a Multi-Hop Mesh


RADIUS Server DHCP Server FND Server


Connected Grid CSMP
wireless mesh
over UDP
Already existing RPL
in the mesh
802.15.4 802.1x,
joining the mesh
Network Mesh
esh Acce
Access Route Pv6 Address
IPv6 Addre Route FND

Discovery Control Discovery Assignment Registration Registration

Consider the following:

• The newly joining mesh may not be in direct range of the CGR.
• Meters already existing in the mesh send out 802.15.4 beacons and RPL DIO messages similar to
the CGR’s WPAN interface.
• Meters already existing in the mesh act as relays for 802.1X and DHCP, thus authenticating the new
meter and relaying an IPv6 address to the meter.
• Relay meters encapsulate messages into UDP packet and forward them to CGR.
• Any entity behind the CGR sees all the meters in the same way, as if it were all at the same link.
• Steps 1 and 3 happens between neighboring nodes.
• FND Registration (CoAP/CSMP).
The CG-Mesh is formed, as shown in Figure 3-8.

Figure 3-8 CG-Mesh Formation

Energy Operaons


CGR 1000


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Frequency Hopping

CGEs implement frequency hopping across 64 channels with 400-kHz spacing in the 902-to-928 MHz
ISM band. The frequency hopping protocol maximizes the use of the available spectrum by allowing
multiple sender-receiver pairs to communicate simultaneously on different channels. The frequency
hopping protocol also mitigates the negative effects of narrowband interferers.
CGEs allow each communication module to follow its own channel-hopping schedule for unicast
communication and synchronize with neighboring nodes to periodically listen to the same channel for
broadcast communication. This enables all nodes within a CGE PAN to use different parts of the
spectrum simultaneously for unicast communication when nodes are not listening for a broadcast
message. Using this model, broadcast transmissions can experience higher latency than with unicast
When a communication module has a message destined for multiple receivers, it waits until its neighbors
are listening on the same channel for a transmission. The size of a broadcast listening window and the
period of such listening windows determine how often nodes listen for broadcast messages together
rather than listening on their own channels for unicast messages.
CG-Mesh uses the communication module hardware in a way that is compliant with the IEEE
802.15.4e/g MAC/PHY specification. CG-Mesh uses the following PHY parameters:
• Operating Band: 902 to 928 MHz
• Number of Channels: 64
• Channel Spacing: 400 kHz
• Modulation Method: Binary FSK
• 150 kbaud data rate, 75 bit rate due to FEC
• Maximum output Power: 28 dBm
Enhanced Beacon (EB) messages allow communication modules to discover PANs that they can join.
CGEs also use EB messages that disseminate useful PAN information to devices that are in the process
of joining the PAN. Joining nodes are nodes that have not yet been granted access to the PAN. As such,
joining nodes cannot communicate IPv6 datagrams with neighboring devices. The EB message is the
only message sent in the clear that can provide useful information to joining nodes. CGRs drive the
dissemination process for all PAN-wide information.
Joining devices also use the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) value of the received EB
message to determine if a neighbor is likely to provide a good link. The transceiver hardware provides
the RSSI value. Neighbors that have an RSSI value below the minimum threshold during the course of
receiving EB messages are not considered for PAN access requests.
CGEs support the following performance-enhancing parameters:
• Network discovery time—To assist field installations, CGEs support mechanisms that allow a node
to determine whether or not it has good connectivity to a valid mesh network.
• Network formation time—To assist field installations, CGEs use mechanisms that allow up to 5,000
nodes in a single WPAN to go through the complete network-discovery, access-control, network
configuration, route formation, and application registration process.
• Network restoration time—The mechanism that aids the rerouting of traffic during a link failure.
• Power outage notification (PON)—CG-Mesh supports timely and efficient reporting of power
outages and conserves energy by notifying the communication module and neighboring nodes of the
outage. Communication modules unaffected by the power outage gather and forward the
information to a CGR. See Figure 3-9.

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Figure 3-9 Power Outage Notification (PON)




Power Outage

NAN Routing
Routing in the 6LoWPAN NAN subnet employs the IPv6 Layer-3 RPL (IPv6 Routing Protocol for Lossy
and Low Power networks) protocol. Smart meters act as RPL nodes while the CGR 1000 acts as an RPL
Directed Acrylic Graph (DAG) Root and stores information reported in Destination Advertisement
Object (DAO) messages to forward datagrams to individual nodes within the mesh network. RPL
constructs the routing tree of the meters. Hence, a Destination Oriented Directed Acrylic Graph
(DODAG) is formed, which is rooted at a single point, namely the CGR.
In the context of AMI, meters act as forwarding nodes. Hence, their default mode should be RPL
non-storing mode.
When a routable IPv6 address is assigned to its CG-Mesh interface, the CGE completes the RPL Tree
formation by sending DAO messages informing the DODAG root of its IPv6 address and the IPv6
addresses of its parents.
When receiving the DAO messages that have been collecting the route information through the upstream
CGEs, the CGR 1000 (DODAG Root) builds the downstream RPL route to node. At this stage, a CGE is
now fully operational having completed its authentication and CG-Mesh network registration. CGR1000
constructs a source-route to the node when external devices such as, FND, try to reach the node.

Figure 3-10 RPL Tree






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IP Addressing
For most FAN deployments, planning for addressing may be initially required. The IPv4 addressing plan
must be derived from the utility’s existing scheme, while the IPv6 addressing plan will most likely be
new. In all cases, it is assumed that the network will be dual-stack.
Table 3-4 shows FAN devices with their IPv4 and IPv6 capabilities.

Table 3-4 IPv4 and IPv6 Capable Devices

Device/Application IPv4 Capable IPv6 Capable

IoT Field Network Director Yes Yes
Collection Engine Yes Yes
Smart meters No Yes
CGR 1000 Yes Yes

The following communication flows occur over IPv6:

• Meters to FND
• Meters to Collection engine
All other communication occurs over IPv4.

IPv4 Addressing

IPv4 prefixes assigned to FANs might be either public or private. A private IPv4 prefix, as documented
in RFC 1918, must never be advertised outside the private domain of the utility.
The following devices in FAN are expected to require an IPv4 address and are dependent on the utility
• FARs: CGR 1000 Series router
– Loopback
– Tunnel endpoint
– Layer 3 Ethernet and Wi-Fi interfaces
• Head-end routers
• Application head-end servers
• Communication head-end servers

IPv6 Addressing

IPv6 prefixes assigned to FANs can be either global or private (Unique Local IPv6 Unicast Addresses
• Global IPv6 prefix: Obtained through one of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR): AFRINIC,
APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC, or RIPE. The entity requesting the prefix from the RIR must be registered
with the RIR as either a Local Internet Registry (LIR) or end-user organization. A global prefix
might alternately be obtained from an ISP.
A utility should consider registering as a LIR to obtain its own IPv6 prefix and therefore be fully
independent from any churn in the ISP addressing architecture.

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RIRs define policies regarding allocation of an IPv6 prefix and the prefix size. A RIR prefix
allocation is by default ::/32 prefix for a LIR, and ::/48 for an end-user organization. The RIR
policies also define how larger or smaller prefixes can be allocated to a LIR and an end-user
A justification, based on the number of sites and hosts, must be given for the non-default allocation.
The number of FAN sites and subnets drive the decision to register as a LIR or as an end-user
organization and further justify the requests made for prefix allocation and size.
• ULA IPv6 prefix: A unique local address (ULA) IPv6 prefix, documented in RFC 4193, is allowed
to be “nearly unique”. It starts with a FC00::/7 value but the following 41 bits, global routing ID,
allow an addressing space far greater than the 3-private IPv4 prefixes (,, documented in RFC 1918. The size of the global routing ID effectively produces a
pseudo “uniqueness.” Note, however, that there is currently no central registration of ULA prefixes.
The main differences between selecting a global or ULA IPv6 prefix are the following:
• A global prefix requires registration to the RIR either as LIR or an end-user organization, requiring
paper work and fees, before getting and justifying an IPv6 prefix allocation. A ULA does not require
this registration.
• Filtering at the border of the utility routing domain.
– A ULA IPv6 prefix must NEVER be advertised to the Internet routing table.
– A global IPv6 prefix or portions of its address space might be advertised to the Internet routing
table and incoming traffic MUST be properly filtered to block any undesirable traffic.
• Internet access: A ULA-based addressing architecture requires the IPv6-to-IPv6 Network Prefix
Translation (IPv6 NPT, RFC 6296) device(s) to be located at the Internet border. Remote workforce
management use cases might require Internet access, such as third-party technicians connecting to
their corporate network from a FAN site, an FND operator using the Google map features, etc. For
web access, web proxies can be a solution.
Once an IPv6 prefix has been allocated for the FAN, a hierarchy numbering the regions, districts,
sites, subnets, and devices must be properly structured. IPv6 addressing is classless, but the 128-bit
address can be split between a routing prefix, upper 64 bits, the Interface Identifier (IID), and the
lower 64 bits. A hierarchical structure eases the configuration of route summarization and filtering.

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IPv6 Data Flow

Figure 3-11 shows the IPv6 data traffic flow.

Figure 3-11 IPv6 Data Traffic Flow

Industrial Operaons Kit(IOK)

RA cluster FND +
cluster Free RSA
CSR Radius CA
5921 1000v
1000v DB

DMZ subnet Data center subnet

IPSec tunnel

Virtual machines
WAN within IOK

IPv6 data flow from

meters to FND
IPv6 data flow from
meters to Collecon Engine
CGR 1000

smart meter

Consider the following:

• The HER (CSR 1000v) and switches in the EOC, if any, are configured with OSPFv3 and PIM6 to
establish connectivity between the FND/collection engine and the meter's IPv6 address (WPAN’s
IPv6 prefixed based multicast address).
• After ZTD is executed, a FlexVPN based IPv4 IPsec tunnel is created between the CGR and the
HER, within which is the IPv6 GRE tunnel over the WAN network. The CGR supports OSPFv3.
• The CGR redistributes WPAN’s IPv6 prefix into OSPFv3 domain.
• The CGR issues MLD join for the prefixed based multicast IPv6 address.
• The HER establishes OSPFv3 neighbor relationships with the CGR(s).
• The OSPFv3 multicast “hello”s are transported within the tunnel.
• Switches in the EOC, if any, run OSPFv3 advertising the internal VLANs IPv6 address so that
CSMP traffic from meters can reach the FND and the collection engine.
• PIM6 is enabled on HER and switches, if any, to forward multicast traffic from FND and Collection
• The HER acts as a rendezvous point (RP) for PIM6.

DHCP Services
DHCPv6 is the preferred address allocation mechanism for the AMI. In the small-scale FAN head-end
solution with IOK, Cisco IOS running on the CGR 1000 is leveraged as the DHCP server. The pool of
addresses may be provided in the configuration template of the IOK. Optionally, a centralized IPv6
DHCP server like the Cisco Network Registrar (CNR) may be used.

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CGEs implement a DHCPv6 client for IPv6 address auto-configuration. CG-Mesh uses the DHCPv6
Rapid Commit option to reduce the traffic to only “Solicit” and “Reply” messages; therefore the
DHCPv6 server (namely the CGR 1000) must support this option.
CGEs implement a DHCPv6 client, while the CGR acts as a DHCPv6 server. A joining node might not
be within range of a CGR and must use a neighboring communication module to make DHCPv6
requests. No DHCPv6 server address needs to be configured on a CGE.
The Cisco IOS on the CGR acts as a DHCP server and accepts address assignment requests and renewals
and assigns the addresses from predefined groups of addresses contained within DHCP address pools.
In IPv6 networking, prefix delegation is used to assign a network address prefix to a user site such as a
PAN, by configuring the CGR with the prefix to be used for each PAN.
Each 6LoWPAN subnet gets assigned an IPv6 multicast group compliant with the unicast-prefix-based
multicast address (RFC 3306). For instance, a PAN rooted at the IPv6 address of
2001:dead:beef:240::/64 has a corresponding multicast address of ff38:0040:2001:dead:beef:240::1.
DHCP services of the IOK are used to provide IP addresses to the IOT FND and other virtual machines
The user should provide the IPv6 prefix for each PAN during ZTD staging by the IOK.

IP Unicast Forwarding
CGEs or smart meters implement a route-over architecture where forwarding occurs at the network layer.
CGEs examine every IPv6 datagram that they receive and determine the next-hop destination based on
information contained in the IPv6 header. CGEs do not use any information from the link-layer header
to perform next-hop determination.
CGEs implement the options for carrying RPL information in data plane datagrams. The routing header
allows a node to specify each hop that a datagram must follow to reach its destination.
The CGE communication stack offers four priority queues for QoS and supports differentiated classes
of service when forwarding IPv6 datagrams to manage interactions between different application traffic
flows as well as control-plane traffic. CGEs implement a strict-priority queuing policy, where
higher-priority traffic always takes priority over lower-priority traffic.
The traffic on CGEs is marked by the vendor implementation (configuration functionality is not
available). If required, traffic can be re-marked on the CGR.

IP Multicast
IPv6 multicast is required between the FND or Collection Engine (head-end system) and the CG-Mesh
endpoints when performing the following:
• Software upgrades of the endpoints by the FND
• Demand reset messages from the Collection Engine
• Demand response messages from the Collection Engine
• Targeted applications pings (a group of meters on a given feeder, for example) by the FND
• Messaging a group of meters with the same read time/cycle by the collection engine
There is no IPv6 multicast requirement between the FND and the CGR 1000 Series router when
performing a Cisco IOS software upgrade.

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PIM is the protocol of choice for multicast traffic in the Field Area Network. The PIM-SSM is a data
delivery model that best supports one-to-many broadcast applications. PIM-SSM builds trees that are
rooted in just one source, offering a more secure and scalable model for a limited amount of applications
(mostly broadcasting of content). In SSM, an IP datagram is transmitted by an IP unicast source S to an
SSM destination address G, which is the multicast group IP address, and receivers can receive this
datagram by subscribing to channel (S,G).
This is the ideal model since the smart meters or CGEs are not capable of IPv6 multicast.
Thus, each 6LoWPAN subnet associated with the CGR acts as a multicast group compliant with the
unicast-prefix-based multicast address as per RFC 3306, as mentioned earlier. For instance, a PAN
rooted at the IPv6 address of 2001:dead:beef:240::/64 has a corresponding multicast address of
CGEs deliver IPv6 multicast messages that have an IPv6 destination address scope larger than link-local
when using a Layer 2 broadcast. When CGEs receive a global-scope IPv6 multicast message, the node
delivers the message to higher layers if the node is subscribed to the multicast address. CGEs then
forward the message to other nodes by transmitting the same IPv6 multicast message over the mesh
interface. CGEs use an IPv6 hop-by-hop option containing a sequence number to ensure that a message
is not received and forwarded more than once.

Figure 3-12 IP Multicast Data Flow

Industrial Operaons Kit(IOK)

RA cluster FND +
cluster Free RSA
CSR Radius CA
5921 1000v
1000v DB

DMZ subnet Data center subnet

EOC servers are IP

HER is set up as the mulcast aware
PIM6 rendezvous
IPSec tunnel

point (RP)
WAN Virtual machines
within IOK

IP Mulcast
data flow

CGR 1000 CGR is configured to join

the MLD group. IPv6
mulcast agent is set up
to communicate with the

smart meter FND and Collecon


The following are the steps involved in the IP multicast data flow:

Step 1 Each 6LoWPAN subnets gets assigned an IPv6 multicast group compliant with the unicast-prefix-based
multicast address (RFC 3306). That is, each PAN is a multicast group.
Step 2 The IoT FND must be configured to enable IPv6 multicast.
Step 3 The collection engine must be configured to map the application multicast address to a single IPv6
multicast address per 6LoWPAN subnet.
Step 4 The CGR is configured with Multicast Listener Discovery v2 (MLDv2) on the tunnel interface to join
the MLD group and communicate with the HER. IPv6 multicast agent should be set up for
communication with FND and Collection engine. For a FAR communicating with redundant HERs

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within an IOK, the MLDv2 join has to be configured on a loopback interface instead of the GRE tunnel
interface. The FAR is then configured with feature PIM6 that enables the active tunnel to listen to the
multicast traffic, thus making the FAR act as a PIM6 router. For this particular solution with IOK, the
second option is preferred, namely, the MLDv2 join is configured on the loopback interface.
Step 5 Each HER is configured with PIM6 SSM, forwarding the appropriate multicast traffic to the
unicast-prefix-based multicast address of the CGR 1000.
Step 6 IoT FND and Collection Engine are the sources of multicast traffic. FND sends a message to the
appropriate IPv6 address to target a PAN.
Step 7 The Layer 2 switch in the EOC, if any, must have MLD snooping enabled.
Step 8 The CSR, which is the head-end router, acts as the RP for PIM6 sparse mode. The multicast traffic is
forwarded towards the CGR.
Step 9 The multicast traffic is encapsulated and transmitted through the IPsec tunnel.
Step 10 The CGR 1000 receives the IPv6 multicast traffic and forwards it to the meters as a Layer 2 broadcast
over the CG mesh. The individual meters can forward the Layer 3 multicast packets after they are
mapped to a Layer 2 broadcast.

WAN Backhaul and Routing

The WAN tier connects the Neighborhood Area Network with the Energy Operations Center. The
following are some considerations while choosing the technology for the WAN backhaul and its routing
• Scalability evaluation—The WAN must cater to the aggregation routers located in the EOC and the
connected grid end-points in the NAN, and to support the multitude of IP tunnels between them.
Dual tunnel configuration should be accounted for, to support resiliency.
• Redundancy and high availability as per Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
• Dual stack routing protocols supported by Cisco IOS, such as MP-BGP, OSPFv3, RIPv2/RIPng,
EIGRP, static routes, and IKEv2 prefix injection from FlexVPN.
• Leverage existing WAN infrastructure connecting to the EOC.
• Topology considerations such as hub and spoke configurations.
• Static versus dynamic routing.
• Ease of configuration.
• Convergence time when losing connectivity with the head-end router or the Cisco 1000 Series CGR.
• Latency and bandwidth requirements depending on traffic flow patterns.
For the validation of this solution, Ethernet for the WAN backhaul is considered and OSPFv3 is the
routing protocol that is provisioned by IOK during ZTD staging. Open Shortest Path First version 3
(OSPFv3) is an IPv4 and IPv6 link-state routing protocol that supports IPv6 and IPv4 unicast address
families (AFs).

Note Changing the routing protocol after pre-ZTD configuration by the IOK is not a recommended practice.

The Field Area Router, namely the CGR 1000 Series Router allows redistribution of the RPL routes
including the WPAN prefix as well as the external RPL.

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Before redistributing RPL in OSPFv3, OSPFv3 must be configured on the uplink tunnel interface. This
is orchestrated by the IOK as a part of the ZTD staging process.

FAN Network Management

Figure 3-13 shows an overview of network management.

Figure 3-13 Network Management Overview

Field Area Networks Network & Security Management Utility Facilities

Push and pull models used in Cisco IoT FND Corporate
Server, DB, Internet Enterprise
appropriate network places of Field Area
Networks DHCPv4/v6 provisioning Server
Provisioning of CGR1000, CGE and AMI Operaons
HER tunnels hbou
nd A

1000v DHCPv4/v6
AAA Server
Public or
Private RPDON Head-End System,
Outage Reporng
WAN server System, Meter Data
CGR 1000 Management, etc.
CA Server
RA Server
Radius SIEM
Directory Services

Syslog Syslog Server

NTP NTP Server


denal and


NAN devices are managed through the Field Network Director (FND) and a FAR can be locally managed
with CG-Device manager as well.
The CG-Mesh has no physical user interfaces such as buttons or display and therefore all configuration
and management occur through Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) Simple Management Protocol
(CSMP) from Cisco IoT Field Network Director.

CoAP Simple Management Protocol (CSMP)

CGEs implement CSMP for remote configuration, monitoring, and event generation over the IPv6
network. CSMP service is exposed over both the mesh and serial interfaces. CGEs use the Cisco FND,
which provides the necessary backend network configuration, monitoring, event notification services,
and network firmware upgrade, as well as power outage and restoration notification and meter
registration. FND also retrieves statistics on network traffic from the interface.
FND accesses CSMP over the mesh to manage communication modules. The application module can use
the information to perform application-specific functions and support customer-specific diagnostic

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IOK Orchestration
The orchestrator of the IOK performs the following tasks, which can be managed from its web-portal:
• Monitors VM status and provides VM restart functionality.
• Provides license import capability for HER, Certificate Authority and FND.
• Displays system topology with IP information.
• Display user XML configuration file utilized for deployment.
• Tracks and displays event log.
• Provides IOK system backup and restore.
• Provides IOK upgrade with patch file.
• Facilitates the deployment of the CGR 1000 routers. This is also referred to as pre-ZTD
configuration or ZTD staging.

Cisco IoT Field Network Director (FND)

The Cisco IoT Field Network Director (formerly called Connected Grid-Network Management System
(CG-NMS)) is a software platform that manages network and security infrastructure for multi-service
Connected Grid networks and is a part of the Cisco Industrial Operations Kit.
The following are the main components of the FND:
• FND Application Server—This is the core of field area deployments. It runs on a Red Hat
Enterprise Linux server and allows administrators to control different aspects of the FND
deployment using its browser-based graphical user interface. FND High Availability deployments
include two or more FND servers connected to a load balancer.
• FND Database—This Oracle database stores all information managed by the FND solution,
including all metrics received from the meters and all device properties such as firmware images,
configuration templates, logs, event information, etc.
• Software Security Module (SSM)—This used for signing CSMP messages sent to meters.This is
similar to the Hardware Security Module (HSM) used in large AMI deployments.
• TPS Proxy—Allows FARs to communicate with FND when they first start up in the field. After
FND provisions tunnels between the FARs and HERs, the FARs communicate with FND directly.
The FND is responsible for the full life cycle network management tasks: fault management,
configuration management, accounting management, performance management, security management
(FCAPS). FND uses the CoAP Simple Management Protocol (CSMP) for remote configuration,
monitoring, and event generation over the IPv6 network.
The following are some of the features and capabilities of the FND:
• Configuration Management—Cisco FND facilitates configuration of large numbers of Cisco
CGRs. They can be bulk-configured by placing them into configuration groups, editing settings in
a configuration template, and then pushing the configuration to all devices in the group.
• Device and Event Monitoring—Cisco FND displays easy-to-read tabular views of extensive
information generated by devices, allowing monitoring the network for errors.
• Status Information—The following parameters are available from the CGEs through CSMP on
– Identification
– UTC time in seconds

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– IEEE 802.15.4 link

– 6LoWPAN link
– Network interface (for both serial and mesh interface)
– RPL routes
– CG-Mesh firmware
Cisco FND also provides integrated Geographic Information System (GIS) map-based
visualization of FAN devices such as routers and smart meters. FND can be used to create
CGR-specific work orders that include the required certificates to access the router.
• Firmware Management—Cisco FND serves as a repository for Cisco CGR and meter firmware
images. Cisco FND can be used to upgrade the firmware running on groups of devices by loading
the firmware image file onto the Cisco FND server and then uploading the image to the devices in
the group. Once uploaded, FND can be used to install the firmware image directly on the devices.
• Zero Touch Deployment—This ease-of-use feature automatically registers (enrolls) and distributes
X.509 certificates and provisioning information over secure connections within a connected grid
• ODM File Upload and Hash Compatibility—Operational Data Model (ODM) files format
commands that execute on Cisco IOS routers. FND uses the formatted output for periodic metrics
collection, router version information, battery information, reading the hypervisor (virtual machine
monitor) version, GPS information, etc. ODM file hash compatibility and upload are performed
while requesting a registration, during periodic inventory updates, or during the tunnel provisioning
• Tunnel Provisioning Between Head-end Routers and FARs—Protects data exchanged between
HERs and Cisco CGRs and prevents unauthorized access to Cisco CGRs to provide secure
communication between devices. Cisco FND can execute CLI commands to provision secure
tunnels between Cisco CGRs and HERs. FND can be used to bulk-configure tunnel provisioning
using groups.
• IPv6 RPL Tree Polling—A node in the IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low power and Lossy Networks
(RPL) tree discovers its neighbors and establishes routes using ICMPv6 message exchanges. RPL
manages routes based on the relative position of the meter to the CGR that is the root of the routing
tree. RPL tree polling is available through the mesh nodes and CGR periodic updates. The RPL tree
represents the mesh topology, which is useful for troubleshooting. For example, the hop count
information received from the RPL tree can determine the use of unicast or multicast for the
firmware download process. FND maintains a periodically updated snapshot of the RPL tree.
• Dual PHY Support—FND can communicate with devices that support Dual PHY (RF and PLC)
traffic. FND identifies CGRs running Dual PHY, enables configuration to masters and slaves, and
collects metrics from masters. FND also manages security keys for Dual PHY CGRs. On the mesh
side, FND identifies Dual PHY nodes using unique hardware IDs, enables configuration pushes and
firmware updates, and collects metrics, including RF and PLC traffic ratios. However, the current
solution only features RF technology in the physical layer.
• Guest OS (GOS) Support—For Cisco IOS CGR1000 devices that support GuestOS, FND allows
approved users to manage applications running on the supported operating systems. FND supports
all phases of application deployment and displays application status and the hypervisor version
running on the device.
• Device Location Tracking—For CGR 1000 devices, FND displays real-time location and device
location history.
• Software Security Module (SSM)—This is a low-cost alternative to the Hardware Security Module
(HSM) and is used for signing CSMP messages sent to meters.

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• Diagnostics and Troubleshooting—The FND rule engine infrastructure provides effective

monitoring of triage-based troubleshooting. Device troubleshooting runs on-demand device path
trace and ping on any CGR, range extender, or meters.
• Power Outage Notifications—CGEs implement a power outage notification service to support
timely and efficient reporting of power outages. In the event of a power outage, CGEs perform the
necessary functions to conserve energy and notify neighboring nodes of the outage. FARs relay the
power outage notification to FND, which then issues push notifications to customers to relate
information on the outage.
• Mesh Upgrade Support—Over-the-air software and firmware upgrades to field devices, such as
Cisco CGRs and meters.
• Audit Logging—Logs access information for user activity for audit, regulatory compliance, and
Security Event and Incident Management (SEIM) integration. This simplifies management and
enhances compliance by integrated monitoring, reporting, and troubleshooting capabilities.
• North Bound APIs—Eases integration of existing utility applications such as outage management
system (OMS), meter data management (MDM), trouble-ticketing systems, and
• Work Orders for Device Manager—Credentialed field technicians can remotely access and update
work orders.
• Role-Based Access Controls—Integrates with enterprise security policies and role-based access
control for AMI network devices.
• Event and Issue Management—Fault event collection, filtering, and correlation for
communication network monitoring. FND supports a variety of fault-event mechanisms for
threshold-based rule processing, custom alarm generation, and alarm event processing. Faults
display on a color-coded GIS-map view for various endpoints in the utility network. This allows
operator-level custom, fault-event generation, processing, and forwarding to various utility
applications such as an outage management system. Automatic issue tracking is based on the events
The following are the devices in the solution supported by the FND:
• Cisco 1000 Series Connected Grid Routers
• CG-Mesh endpoints—IPv6 RF-based smart meters

Zero-Touch Deployment Staging by IOK

The Orchestration virtual machine of the IOK facilitates the pre-ZTD configuration (also referred to as
Router ZTD staging) of the CGR 1000 series routers with a single click of a button. The Router ZTD
Staging pop-up window has provision for single router ZTD, as well as batch ZTD for multiple routers.
A user-configured CSV file is given as an input for batch staging.
Following are the steps performed by the IOK for Zero Touch Deployment staging, using the FARs’
router console.
• Configures the following parameters:
– WAN interface
– NTP server
– Name Server
– Device (CGR) IP and routing

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• Configures PKI parameters—LDevID (Utility’s certificate) trust-points and LDevID certificate

• Configures HTTPS—HTTPS server for WSMA (Web Services Management Agent) and HTTPS
client for CGNA (Connected Grid Network Agent).
• Configures replace configuration—Configuration requests sent to WSMA can specify action to be
performed when an error is encountered. If the action is specified as rollback, then WSMA stops
processing at the first error and restores the configuration to the state before the configuration was
applied. WSMA makes use of the IOS configuration archive to support this functionality.
• WSMA configuration—WSMA is configured to listen for incoming requests. The configuration
WSMA service is used to configure the CGR, the exec WSMA service is used for operations such
as configure replace.
• Configures WSMA to be integrated with AAA, to enable FND to use a username and password to
access WSMA. The default username is cg-nms-administrator.
• Configures WPAN module on the CGR and allows CG endpoints, such as smart meters, to establish
• Configures CGNA profiles to allow communication with TPS/FND. Profile will be activated once
certificates have been enrolled.
• ODM (Operator Data Modeler) configuration—Used to convert CLI command output to XML.
Factory configuration contains CLI commands that reference the specific file used by ODM to direct
the conversion.
• Imports device information onto NMS (FND) after ZTD Staging completed.
The CGR 1000 series routers that act as the Field Area Routers should be staged in the EOC network
within the utility premises and then shipped and deployed in the field.

Zero Touch Deployment (ZTD) by FND

Zero Touch Deployment in the context of the network management system, namely IoT FND refers to
provisioning of IP tunnels to facilitate communication between the head-end and the CGR 1000 series
routers and registration of the connected grid endpoints.
It must be noted that any communication from the CGR to the data center subnet, must be secure. The
VPN tunnel between the CGR and the HER, across the WAN, ensures this. ZTD process entails
provisioning of this tunnel. Prior to the establishment of this tunnel, the CGR can only communicate
with the devices in the DMZ, namely the TPS and the Registration Authority.
After installing and powering on the CGR 1000, it becomes active in the network and registers its
certificate with the Registration Authority by employing the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol
(SCEP). The Registration Authority (Cisco ESR 5921), functioning as a CA proxy, obtains certificates
for the Cisco CGR from the CA. The Cisco CGR then sends a tunnel-provisioning request over HTTPS
to the TPS proxy that forwards it to FND. Cisco FND pushes the configuration to create a tunnel between
a Cisco CGR and a head-end router.

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Figure 3-14 Zero Touch Deployment by FND


TPS ESR Oracle
1000v Radius CA
5921 (cluster) DB

Data center subnet

DMZ subnet


IPsec tunnel
VMs within IOK
IPv6 over


CGR 1000

Figure 3-14 provides an overview of Zero Touch deployment performed by the FND with the interaction
between the IOK components.
The following are the detailed steps involved in the ZTD for CGR 1000 series routers:

Step 1 The CGR 1000 routers are pre-configured with unique IDevID certificate. Uplink network credentials
(cellular, Ethernet, etc.), WPAN SSID, and address/port of tunnel provisioning service in the FND are
configured by the IOK at the time of router ZTD staging.
Step 2 The CGR 1000 series routers are deployed on-site so that they can join the uplink network(s).
Step 3 Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) phase—The CGR 1000 communicates with the
Registration Authority to procure the Utility signed LDevID certificate through SCEP, Simple
Certificate Enrollment protocol. Each CGR permitted to enroll should have a valid entry in the Active
Directory or the FreeRADIUS’ AAA database. Each entry must have the CGR’s serialNumber as the
username and a user defined string (the default is cisco) as the password. The FreeRADIUS must be
configured to return the RADIUS attribute cisco-av-pair=pki:cert-application=all on successful
authorization. This RADIUS attribute permits the Registration Authority’s PKI infrastructure to grant
requests by the SCEP requestor for any application.
The SCEP process is controlled by an embedded event manager (EEM) policy in the firmware written
in the TCL script. It is triggered by one of the following three events:
• Periodic (600 seconds by default)
• Certificate Enrollment completion
• Manually triggered by executing event manager run rm_ztd_scep.tcl
Once the certificates have been successfully enrolled the script activates a CGNA profile to initiate the
next stage of ZTD.

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Figure 3-15 SCEP Process

2 3
Check entry
CGR Serial no., password = “cisco” in AD
5 Radius

7 6
1 LDevID


CGR 1000

The steps involved in the SCEP process are as follows (see Figure 3-15):

Step 1 The CGR 1000 series router is factory configured with the IDevID X.509 RSA certificate. The CGR
sends an SCEP request to the Registration Authority (RA) with its IDevID.
Step 2 The Registration Authority forwards the request to the FreeRADIUS server with the CGR’s serial
number as the username and the password cisco.
Step 3 The FreeRADIUS server checks the local/Active Directory for a corresponding entry.
Step 4 If a valid entry is present, the FreeRADIUS server passes the authorization message to the Registration
Authority, which forwards the SCEP request to the RSA based Certificate Authority.
Step 5 The RSA based Certificate Authority issues an LDevID X.509 RSA certificate and sends it to the
Registration Authority.
Step 6 The Registration Authority relays the LDevID certificate to the CGR.
Step 7 Tunnel provisioning phase (see Figure 3-16)—The CGR 1000 Series router contacts TPS with a
tunnel-provisioning request using HTTPS on port 9120. TPS forwards the request to FND on port 9120.
FND sends the tunnel configuration to be deployed on the CGR to the TPS using port 9122. FND
configures the HER with the necessary tunnel configurations using NETCONF. TPS forwards the tunnel
configuration to CGR using port 8443. The CGR configures itself with the obtained tunnel configuration.
A tunnel is then established between HER and CGR and hereafter CGR can communicate directly with
the HER.

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Figure 3-16 Tunnel Provisioning Phase

TPS checks FND database

2 for valid CGR entry

1000v Radius CA
TPS obtains 1000v DB
informaon of
to the CGR
Data center subnet

DMZ subnet
communicated IPsec tunnel The tunnel between the Legend
to the CGR HER and the CGR is
established and the VMs within IOK
WAN CGR can communicate
with the FND directly.

Request for tunnel
provisioning sent to TPS

CGR 1000
Step 8 The CGR 1000 Series router opens a mutual-authentication HTTPS connection to the registration service
in FND and sends discovery information.

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Data Flow from Meters to FND

Figure 3-17 Data Flow between Meters and FND

Industrial Operaons Kit(IOK)

RA cluster FND +
cluster Free RSA
CSR Radius CA
5921 1000v
1000v DB

DMZ subnet Communicaon using

CSMP 2 Data center subnet

Requests meters for

Packet Firewall data
decrypted and passes the 3
forwarded to data 7

IPsec tunnel
Virtual machines
WAN within IOK

encrypted packet
6 and sent data flow
QoS policy
5 if any, CGR 1000
Response 1
Once the meters are
4 authencated, they can
communicate with the

smart meter FND directly.

Refer to Figure 3-17 and consider the following:

• Once the meters are authenticated and the tunnel is established between the CGR and the HER,
meters can communicate directly with the FND.
• FND communicates with the meters using the CSMP protocol. CSMP messages are signed by the
FND and the meters can validate them.
• The FND issues a particular request to solicit CGE status information.
• Smart meters transmit the solicited data over the IPv6 based RF network to the CGR.
• The CGR inspects the packet’s DSCP value and applies the appropriate QoS policy if configured.
• Data is encrypted and sent as an IPv4 packet over the IPsec tunnel, within which is the IPv6 over
IPv4 GRE tunnel.
• The firewall is configured to permit the IPsec tunneled traffic.
• HER decrypts the packet and routes the IPv6 packet to the FND.

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Figure 3-18 shows an overview of security management in the FAN.

Figure 3-18 Security Management Overview in the FAN

Connected Grid Network Management Energy Operaons Center (EOC)

Scheduler Subscriber FND DHCPv6
Data services
Historian Grid State
Data Management Directory
Services SCADA
Firewall Cerficate
SCEP Authority

Firewall to secure the EOC Wide Area Network (WAN)

IP security services in

Public or Private
IP infrastructure

Cellular/Ethernet/Fiber IPsec encrypon over

WAN backhaul with
traffic segmented.

ACLs for WAN traffic

Neighborhood Area Network (NAN)
Field Area Router

Link layer encrypon

with AES -128 Neighborhood Area Mesh access control
Network using 802.1x, EAP-TLS,

Security across the layers is a critical aspect of the AMI architecture. Cisco Connected Grid security
solutions provide critical infrastructure-grade security to control access to critical utility assets, monitor
the network, mitigate threats, and protect grid facilities. The solutions enhance overall network
functionality while simultaneously making security easier and less costly to manage.
The following are some of the security principles governing the architecture:
• Prevent unauthorized users and devices from accessing the head-end systems.
• Protect the FAN from cyber attacks.
• Relevant security threats must be identified and addressed.
• Relevant regulatory requirements should be met.
• Maximize visibility into the network environment, devices, and events.
• The FAN is dual stack and thus security policies must apply to both IPv4 and IPv6.
• Preventing intruders from gaining access to field area router configuration or tampering with data.
• Containing malware from proliferation that can impair the FAN.
• Segregating network traffic so that mission-critical data in a multi-services FAN is not
• Assuring QoS for critical data flow, whereas possible denial-of-service (DoS) attack traffic is
• Real-time monitoring of the FAN for immediate response to threats.

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• Provisioning of network security services, which allows utilities to efficiently deploy and manage
• Improve risk management and satisfy compliance and regulatory requirements such as NERC-CIP
with assessment, design, and deployment services.
There are four categories of security design topics, explained in detail in the following sections.

Access Control
Utility facilities, assets, and data should be secured with user authentication and access control. The
fundamental element of access control is to have strong identity mechanisms for all grid elements-users,
devices, and applications. It is equally important to perform mutual authentication of both nodes
involved in the communications for it to be considered secure.

Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA)

In order to perform the Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) tasks, the EOC
infrastructure must host a scalable, high-performance policy system for authentication, user access, and
administrator access. The solution must support RADIUS, a fully open protocol, that is the de facto
standard for implementing centralized AAA by multiple vendors. The FreeRADIUS, which is a part of
the Cisco IOK bundle, provides the network admission control piece for the solution.
In the context of device access control, TACACS+ may be used to support command authorization on
CGRs. Since the FreeRADIUS on the IOK does not support TACACS+, an external AAA server such as
the Cisco ACS may be deployed, especially for large deployments.
The FreeRADIUS may be integrated with the external Active Directory (AD) to enable 802.1X
authentication for the various FAN devices such as smart meters. The FreeRADIUS communicates with
the AD using the RADIUS protocol. The FreeRADIUS’ local directory should be used when the number
of meters to be authenticated is small.

Certificate-Based Authentication

802.1X authentication for the FAN devices is based on digital certificates.

The CGR 1000 Series is manufactured with an X.509-based digital certificate (IdevID) that can be used
to bootstrap the device and subsequently install a utility’s own digital certificate (LdevID) by means of
Simple Certificate Enrollment Process (SCEP). Such an identity then forms the basis of AAA services
performed by the router with other entities, such as meters, aggregation routers, network management
system, and authentication servers.
Similarly, an X.509 certificate-based identity for meters should be used, since it is a highly secure
method for authentication, as well as for scalable cryptographic key management.
Strong authentication of nodes can be achieved by taking full advantage of a set of open standards such
as IEEE 802.1X, Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), and RADIUS. Every meter joining the mesh
network needs to get authenticated before being allowed access to the AMI infrastructure. The FARs,
along with intermediate meters, pass on the new meter’s credentials to the centralized AAA server. Once
authenticated, the meter is allowed to join the mesh and will be authorized to communicate with other
For remote workforce automation, the Cisco 1000 Series CGR comes equipped with a Wi-Fi interface
that can be accessed by field technicians for configuration. In order to gain access to the device, the
technician will need to be authenticated and authorized by the authentication server in the head-end. For
such role-based access control (RBAC), the technician’s credentials could be a username and password
or a X.509 digital certificate. The credentials may be stored in the utility’s enterprise Active Directory.

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Elliptical curve cryptography (ECC) is the cryptography algorithm of choice for smart meters, since it
is suitable for low power and lossy networks. Hence, the smart meters must carry the ECDSA P256
To summarize, RSA algorithm is used for authentication of CGRs and ECC algorithm is used for
authentication of meters. It is recommended to install certificates with a lifetime of 5 years.
Table 3-5 illustrates the FAN devices that support RSA and ECC cryptography in the context of AMI.

Table 3-5 RSA and ECC Cryptography Support for Devices

Device/Application Supports RSA Cryptography Supports ECC Cryptography

CGR 1000 Yes No
Head-end router Yes No
FND Yes Yes
TPS Yes No
CG endpoints (smart meters) No Yes
FreeRADIUS Yes Yes

CG Mesh Authentication

Figure 3-19 Mesh Access Control—IEEE 802.1X Authentication



n “IEEE 802.1x Relay CGR - Split Authencaon Server
Split Authencator” Authencator Cerficate Authority
EAPoL-Start Acve Directory
relayed over UDP (EAPoU)

EAP-Request Identy
Subject EAP-Response Identy
of X.509
RADIUS Access-Request
in EAPoL EAP-TLS in EAPoL in UDP EAP-TLS in Radius
All EAP-TLS is encapsulated aer this point
Send EAP Request Identy
EAP Response Identy
of X.509
Cert EAP Request TLS Start
EAP Client Response Hello
Send AAA
Send EAP-Request Server Hello, Cerficate, Key Exchange X.509 Cert
Own EAP-Response Client Key Exchange, Cert

PMK EAP-Request Finished

PMK: Pairwise Master Key

CG-Mesh WPAN Network Access Control (WNAC) authenticates a node before the node gets an IPv6
address. CG-Mesh WPAN WNAC uses standard, widely-deployed security protocols that support
Network Access Control, in particular IEEE 802.1X using EAP-TLS to perform mutual authentication
between a joining low power and lossy Network (LLN) device and an AAA server. In addition, CG-Mesh
uses the secure key management mechanisms introduced in the IEEE 802.11i to allow the CGR 1000 to
securely manage the link keys within a PAN for all CG-Mesh devices.

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LLNs are typically composed of multiple hops and CG-Mesh is used to support EAPOL over multi-hop
networks. In particular, the Supplicant (LLN device) might not be within direct link connectivity of the
Authenticator (CGR 1000). CG-Mesh uses the Split Authenticator as a communication relay for the
Authenticator. All devices that have successfully joined the network also serve as a Split Authenticator,
accepting EAPOL frames from those devices that are attempting to join the network. Because CG-Mesh
performs IP-layer routing, the Split Authenticator relays EAPOL frames between a joining device and
an Authenticator using UDP. By introducing a Split Authenticator, the authentication and key
management protocol is identical to an LLN device regardless of whether it is a single hop from the CGR
1000 or multiple hops away.
The CGR 1000 and CG-Mesh devices use the IEEE 802.11 key hierarchy in persistent state to minimize
the overhead of maintaining and distributing group keys. In particular, an LLN device first checks if it
has a valid Group Temporal Key (GTK) by verifying the key with one of its neighbors. If the GTK is
valid, the node can begin communicating in the network immediately. Otherwise, the device then checks
if it has a valid Pairwise Temporal Key (PTK) with the CGR 1000. The PTK is used to securely distribute
the GTK. The same handshake messages might be used to refresh the GTK. If the PTK is valid, the CGR
1000 initiates a two-way handshake to communicate the current GTK. Otherwise, the device checks if it
has a valid Pairwise Master Key (PMK) with the CGR 1000. If the PMK is valid, the CGR 1000 initiates
a two-way handshake to establish a new PTK and communicate the current GTK. Otherwise, the device
will request a full EAP-TLS authentication exchange. This hierarchical decision process minimizes the
security overhead in the normal case, where devices might migrate from network-to-network due to
environmental changes or network formation after a power outage.
The CG-Mesh meter must go through the following five stages of authentication before it connects with
the CGR 1000:
• Stage 1: Key information exchange.
• Stage 2: 8021X/EAP-TLS authentication (ECC cipher suite certificate).
• Stage 3: 802.11i four-way handshake to establish a Pairwise Temporal Key (PTK) between a device
and a CGR -Pairwise Master Key (PMK) confirmation, Pairwise Transient Key (PTK) derivation,
and Group Temporal Key (GTK) distribution.
• Stage 4: Group key handshake.
• Stage 5: Secure data communication.
A compromised node is one where the device can no longer be trusted by the network. To evict
compromised nodes from a network, the CGR must communicate a new Group Temporal Key (GTK) to
all nodes in the PAN except those being evicted. The new GTK has a valid lifetime that begins
immediately. After the new GTK is distributed to all allowed nodes, the CGR invalidates the old GTK.
After the old GTK is invalidated, those nodes that did not receive the new GTK can no longer participate
in the network and are considered evicted.

Data Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy

Encryption across the Network Layers

One of the critical security requirements in the FAN is to ensure data integrity and confidentiality for
data from smart meters and distribution automation devices when it traverses any public or private
network. Data confidentiality uses encryption mechanisms available at various layers of the
communication stack. For example, an IPv6 node in the last mile, namely, a smart meter, can encrypt
data using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) at the following layers:
• Layer 2 (IEEE 802.15.4g or IEEE P1901.2)
• Layer 3 (IP Security [IPsec])

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• Layer 4 (Datagram Transport Layer Settings [DTLS])

• Layer 7 (ANSI C12.22 or DLMS/COSEM)
The choice of a given layer for encryption is subject to the constraints on the node in terms of processing
power, the network architecture, and scalability of deployment. For example, software upgrade or
dynamic pricing can be efficiently sent to a select group of meters by use of Layer 3 IP Security (IPsec)
and IP multicast on routers in the network infrastructure. The standards-based IPsec protocol suite
ensures data integrity and confidentiality for all traffic—be it smart metering or distribution automation.
In the Cisco Connected Grid FAN architecture, the design recommendation is to use network-layer
encryption (AES with IPsec) in the WAN and link-layer encryption in the mesh (AES on IEEE 802.15.4g
or IEEE P1901.2). Such a design choice preserves network visibility into the traffic at the FAR and helps
enables use of IP-based techniques of multicast, network segmentation, and quality of service (QoS). It
also allows the smart meter and other endpoints to be a low-cost constrained node that only does
link-layer encryption while the versatile FAR does both network-layer and link-layer encryption.
Network and link-layer encryption can be supplemented by use of application-layer techniques that
verify message integrity and proof of origin (digitally signed firmware images or digitally signed
commands as part of C12.22 or DLMS/COSEM).

IP Tunnels

If AMI traffic traverses a public WAN of any kind, data should be encrypted with standards-based IPsec.
This approach is advisable even if the WAN backhaul is a private network. A site-to-site IPsec VPN can
be built between the FAR and the WAN aggregation router in the control center. The Cisco Connected
Grid solution implements a sophisticated key generation and exchange mechanism for both link-layer
and network-layer encryption. This significantly simplifies cryptographic key management and ensures
that the hub-and-spoke encryption domain not only scales across thousands of field area routers but also
across millions of meters and grid endpoints.
IP tunnels are a key capability for all FAN use cases forwarding various traffic types over the backhaul
WAN infrastructure. Various tunneling techniques may be used, but it is important to evaluate individual
technique’s OS support, performance, and scalability for the CGR 1000 and head-end router platforms.
The following are tunneling considerations:
• IPsec tunnel—To protect the data integrity of all traffic over the WAN. This could be an IPv4 IPsec
or IPv6 IPsec tunnel in case of a WAN infrastructure that supports IPv4 as well as IPv6.
• IPv6 over GRE within an IPv4 IPsec tunnel—To transport the AMI IPv6 meter traffic over a WAN
infrastructure that does not support native IPv6 traffic. A network configuration with an outer IPsec
tunnel over IPv4 inside (which is an IPv6 GRE tunnel) should be used.
IOK orchestration facilitates the latter with the implementation of FlexVPN tunnels.
Figure 3-20 shows a tunnel between the CGR and the HER.

Figure 3-20 Tunnel between the CGR and the HER

IPSec tunnel IPv6 over 1000v
CGR 1000 IPv4 GRE

tunnel HER

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Figure 3-21 shows the structure of the packet header transmitted through the VPN Tunnel.

Figure 3-21 Structure of the Packet Header Transmitted through the VPN Tunnel

IPv4 GRE IPv6 data and

IPv4 header IPSec header header


FlexVPN is a flexible and scalable Virtual Private Network (VPN) solution based on IPsec and IKEv2.
To secure meter data communication with the head-end across the WAN, FlexVPN is recommended. The
IOT FND establishes FlexVPN tunnels between the head-end routers and the CGRs as a part of the ZTD
FlexVPN integrates various topologies and VPN functions under one framework. The Static Virtual
Tunnel Interface (SVTI) VPN model that the CGR 1000 used previously required explicit management
of tunnel endpoints and associated routes, which is not scalable. FlexVPN simplifies the deployment of
VPNs by providing a unified VPN framework that is compatible with legacy VPN technologies.
The following are some of the benefits of FlexVPN:
• Allows use of a single tunnel for both IPv4 and IPv6, when the medium supports it.
• Supports NAT/PAT traversal.
• Supports QoS in both directions—hub-to-spoke and spoke-to-hub.
• Supports Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF).
• Reduces control plane traffic for costly links with support for tuning of parameters. In this solution,
IPsec is configured in the tunnel mode.
• IKEv2 has fewer round trips in a negotiation than IKEv1; two round trips versus five for IKEv1 for
a basic exchange.
• Has built-in dead peer detection (DPD).
• Has built-in configuration payload and user authentication mode.
• Has built-in NAT traversal (NAT-T). IKEv2 uses ports 500 and 4500 for NAT-T.
• Improved re-keying and collision handling.
• A single security association (SA) can protect multiple subnets, which improves scalability. Support
for Multi-SA DVTI support on the hub.
• Asymmetric authentication in site-to-site VPNs, where each side of a tunnel can have different
preshared keys, different certificates, or one side a key and the other side a certificate.
In the FlexVPN VPN model, the head-end router acts as the FlexVPN hub and CGRs act as the FlexVPN
spokes. The tunnel interfaces on the CGR acquire their IP addresses from address pools configured
during IOK installation. These addresses only have local significance between the HER and the CGR.
Since the CGR’s tunnel addresses are both dynamic and private to the HER, NMS must address the CGRs
by their loopback interface in this network architecture. Conversely, the CGR sources its traffic using its
loopback interface.
Before the FlexVPN tunnel is established, the CGR can only communicate to the HER in the head-end
network. This is done over the WAN backhaul via a low priority default route. During FlexVPN
handshake, route information is exchanged between the HER and the CGR. The CGR learns the
head-end routes (IPv4 and IPv6) through FlexVPN. The head-end router learns the neighborhood subnet
information as an external route redistributed into the OSPF domain and as reachable through the tunnel

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Specifically, the following happens:

• A default route in installed onto the CGR to direct all northbound traffic through the tunnel interface.
This route overrides the existing low priority default WAN route.
• Routes are installed onto the HER; each route corresponds to a PAN to which the CGR connects.
Reverse Route Injection (RRI) enables static routes to be automatically inserted into the routing process
for the PANs associated with the CGRs. Each route is created on the basis of the remote IPv6 network
behind the CGR, with the next hop to this network being the CGR. By using the CGR as the next hop,
the traffic is forced through the crypto process to be encrypted.
After the static route is created on the HER, this information is propagated to upstream devices, allowing
them to determine the appropriate HER within the cluster to which to send returning traffic in order to
maintain IPsec state flows. Routes are created in either the global routing table or the appropriate virtual
route forwarding (VRF) table, if any.

Note It is very important that the PAN associated with the CGR is defined prior to the FlexVPN handshake as
subsequent PAN configuration changes are cannot be exchanged.

The IOK consists of 5 head-end routers and is a load balancing solution. The number of HERs enabled
can be configured by the user. One of them functions as the master. The load balancing solution for
IKEv2-redirect requests treats a single HSRP group containing IKEv2 gateways (HERs) within the LAN
as a single cluster. The solution does the following:
• Runs HSRP to choose a master from among the gateways of the HSRP group or cluster. The Virtual
IP address (VIP) of the HSRP group does not change across elections requiring no configuration
change at the remote clients.
• All other gateways within the same HSRP group send load updates periodically to the master.
• IKEv2 redirect API contacts the load-balancing solution for knowing the least loaded IKEv2
gateway (within the same HSRP group) to which the IKEv2 client is redirected.
Figure 3-22 shows the load balancing of the FlexVPN tunnels.

Figure 3-22 Load Balancing of the FlexVPN Tunnels

HER 1 HER 2 Master HER HER 3 HER 4

HER cluster
1. The active router or the Master HER keeps
receiving the load information from the
other HERs.
2. CGR1 connects to VIP The
Master HER checks the load table and
redirects it to HER 1.
3. Similarly, CGR2 connects to VIP The Master HER checks the
load table and redirects it to HER 2.
4. If the Master HER goes down, HSRP elects
1 or 2 as the active router, and will now
maintain load info and redirect clients


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The head-end routers are pre-configured to support FlexVPN, hence no additional configuration on the
HER is required to create the tunnel. Configurations only need to be made on the CGR and this is done
as a part of the ZTD process. Registration of the CGR does not occur until the IPsec tunnel is
successfully brought up.

Threat Detection and Mitigation

Data Segmentation

A simple but powerful network security technique is to logically separate different functional elements
that should never be communicating with each other. For example, in the distribution grid, smart meters
should not be communicating to Distribution Automation devices and vice versa. Similarly, traffic
originating from field technicians should be logically separated from AMI and DA traffic. The Cisco
Connected Grid security architecture supports tools such as VLANs and Generic Routing Encapsulation
(GRE) to achieve network segmentation. To build on top of that, access lists and firewall features can be
configured on field area routers to filter and control access in the distribution and substation part of the

VLAN Segmentation

In order to segregate traffic, the VLAN design shown in Table 3-6 should be used.

Table 3-6 VLAN Plan

VLAN ID Description
DMZ subnet VLAN (VLAN 30) For DMZ components within the IOK.
Data center subnet VLAN (VLAN 20) For data center components in the IOK.
Collection Engine/AMI operations VLAN (VLAN For application head-end components.
Utility data center VLAN (VLAN 50) For components residing in the Utility data center.
Black hole VLAN (VLAN 90) All unused ports are assigned to this VLAN as a
security measure.

Figure 3-1 on page 3-2, which illustrates the FAN system topology, shows VLAN segmentation.


All traffic originating from the FAN is aggregated at the control-center tier and needs to be passed
through a high performance firewall, especially if it has traversed through a public network. This firewall
should implement zone-based policies to detect and mitigate threats. The Cisco ASA with FirePOWER
Services, which brings distinctive, threat-focused, next-generation security services to the ASA 5585-X
firewall products, is recommended for the solution. It provides comprehensive protection from known
and advanced threats, including protection against targeted and persistent malware attacks.
The firewall must be configured in transparent mode. The interface connecting to the IOK must be
configured as the inside interface and the interface connecting to the WAN link must be configured as
outside, as shown in Figure 3-23.

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Figure 3-23 Firewall Configuration

Cisco IOK

vmnic 1

ASA Firewall




Firewalls are best deployed in pairs to avoid a single point of failure in the network.
The guidelines for configuring the firewall are as follows:
• NAN to Head-end and vice-versa: ACLs should be configured to permit traffic between the CGRs
and the Head-end router at the ASA.
• Security levels are defined as follows:
– NAN facing interface— outside: 0
– Head-end facing interface—inside: 100
Based on Table 3-7, ACLs may be configured on the firewall.

Table 3-7 Firewall Ports to be Enabled for AMI

Application/ Exposed Interface on the

Device Protocol Port Port Status Service towards ASA
TPS TCP 9120 Listening CGR tunnel FAN Outside
provisioning HTTPS
Registration TCP 80 Used HTTP for SCEP FAN Outside

HER UDP 123 Used NTP FAN Outside

HER ESP - Used IP protocol 50 FAN Outside
- UDP 500 Used IKE Both Outside/Inside
- UDP 4500 Used NAT traversal (if any) Both Outside/Inside

NERC-CIP Compliance

NERC-CIP is also considered, as FAN may be included by regulations as the smart grid evolves. The
NERC-CIP requirements, taking a holistic defense-in-depth approach, are considered good security
practices which are applicable to smart grid beyond the regulated electricity generation and transmission

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The AMI endpoints, namely the smart meters, do not fall within the classification of High or Medium
impact assets. However, physical security of the endpoints remains a concern. Physical compromise may
lead to tampering of meters and the cryptographic key may be retrieved from the microprocessor. This
becomes especially dangerous if several meters share the same key. This can be mitigated by device
authentication for meters, encryption of key exchange, VPN from aggregation points, etc. Cisco’s
implementation of Zero Touch deployment capability and security from the meter communications to
the Meter Data Management System provides an additional layer to the application layer security
implemented by the meter vendor.

Device and Platform Integrity

Device Hardening and Tamper Proofing

A basic tenet of security design is to ensure that devices, endpoints, and applications cannot be
compromised easily and are resistant to cyber attacks. With that goal in mind, the Cisco 1000 Series
Connected Grid Routers are built with tamper-resistant mechanical designs. The Cisco 1240 Connected
Grid Router (CGR 1240), which is an outdoor model, is equipped with a physical lock and key
mechanism. This makes it extremely difficult for any rogue entity to open or uninstall the device from
the pole-top mounting. The device generates NMS alerts if the router door or chassis is opened.
Additionally, each router motherboard is equipped with a dedicated security chip that provides the
• Secure unique device identifier (802.1AR)
• Immutable identity and certifiable cryptography
• Entropy source with true randomization
• Memory protection and image signing and validation
• Tamper-proof secure storage of configuration and data
CGR 1000 series router images are digitally signed to validate the authenticity and integrity of the
software. For AMI deployments using the Cisco Connected Grid architecture, meters also have a
tamper-resistant design, generate an alert on tampering, and maintain local audit trails for all sensitive
events. Firmware images for meters are digitally signed. Similarly, to help ensure authenticity and
integrity of commands delivered from the AMI head-end system (HES) to meters, the commands are
digitally signed.
Further, the following is recommended:
• Unused ports on the switches are shut down.
• BPDU guard be enabled on the switches.
• First hop security (FHS) is enabled on the FAN devices.

FAN—High Availability
IOK does not support high availability of head-end systems, such as, the IoT FND. However, high
availability is factored into the design at the network layer at key junctures and is cross-referenced below.
• PAN migration of endpoints in case of CGR failure (see NAN Network Connectivity, page 3-8)
• RPL is the choice of routing protocol, which supports low power and lossy networks (see NAN
Routing, page 3-16)
• Load balancing of HERs to support FlexVPN tunnels (see IP Tunnels, page 3-36)

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Additionally, RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Discs) may be set up with ESXi to provide
resiliency and high availability for storage. Refer to VMware’s guide for VMware storage best practices
• https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/support/landing_pages/Virtual-Support-Day-Storage-Best-Practic

FAN—Sizing and Scaling

The following are network sizing and scaling parameters that have been factored in for the Field Area
Network system design and implementation:
• A Cisco Connected Grid 1000 series router can support up to 5000 connected grid endpoints or
smart meters.
• The head-end routers of the Cisco Industrial Operations Kit are 5 in number. Each HER can support
up to 300 Cisco Connected Grid 1000 series router.
• The Itron OpenWay smart meters’ usage data messages are in the order of kilobytes. For example,
2000 routers reporting every 15 minutes, spread over 15 minutes = 2.2 reports/sec, ~70kB/sec
including FAR and HERs metrics. Worst-case spike load of all routers reporting at the same time,
spread over 10secs = 200 reports/sec, ~7 MB/sec.
• RF capacity planning—The connected grid endpoints should be deployed on the field after
appropriate RF site survey using a spectrum analyzer. The RF design can be carried out using tools
such as the ATDI ICS designer or ASSET by TEOCO.
• The CGR 1000 series routers have a transmit power of 28dBm.

Architecture Summary and Implementation Guidelines

This chapter described the system architecture and design specifications for FAN 2.0 to achieve the
functionality required for the use case of Advanced Metering Infrastructure with the Cisco Industrial
Operations Kit. The implementation is considered complete when there is successful two-way
communication established between the smart meters and the head-end systems.
The data flow between the smart meters and the head-end systems, specifically the Cisco IoT FND and
the Collection Engine, along with the stages of implementation are summarized in Figure 3-24.

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Figure 3-24 Data Flow between Smart Meters and Collection Engine
Industrial Operaons Kit(IOK)

RA cluster FND +
cluster Free RSA
CSR Radius CA
5921 1000v
1000v DB

DMZ subnet Data center subnet

IPSec tunnel
Virtual machines
WAN within IOK

data flow from

meters to the
collecon engine

CGR 1000 data flow from

meters to FND

smart meter

Step 1 The Cisco Industrial Operations Kit software bundle is installed on a server meeting the specified
requirements, such as the Cisco UCS C-460. All the components of the head-end should be brought up
and the number of HERs to be enabled can be decided by the user at this stage. Each HER can support
up to 300 FARs. The Cisco IOK is deployed in the Energy Operations Center of the utility facility.
Step 2 The dual-stack CGR 1000 series routers to be deployed as field area routers are bootstrapped by the IOK
by connecting them to the UCS server through their router console(s). The CGRs must be provisioned
with the WPAN module. The bootstrap configuration is done using the ZTD staging feature of the IOK
after providing a few parameters as prompted by the GUI.
Step 3 The data center components, such as the ECC based Certificate Authority, Active Directory, and NTP
are installed and brought up or, if they already exist in the utility data center, connectivity to the
components from the IOK’s head-end router should be ensured.
Step 4 The firewall in the head-end is configured in the transparent mode in order to support multicast traffic
and appropriate ports are enabled to allow AMI traffic.
Step 5 The Collection Engine is installed in the energy operations center.
Step 6 The CGRs are deployed on the field and are typically pole mounted. The IP address of the CGR
interfaces is configured at this stage.
Step 7 The CGR attempts to enroll its utility provided LDevID certificate by the SCEP process. This process is
automatically triggered by periodically attempting communication with the Registration Authority. It
can also be manually triggered as described in Zero-Touch Deployment Staging by IOK, page 3-26.
Step 8 Once the CGR procures the utility provided LDevID certificate, it proceeds to attempt communication
with the tunnel provisioning server in order to establish an IPsec-based VPN tunnel with the head-end
system. This process is detailed in Zero-Touch Deployment Staging by IOK, page 3-26. The tunnel is an
IPv4 IPsec tunnel, within which is an IPv6 over IPv4 GRE tunnel to help transmit IPv6 data. Once the
tunnel to the head-end router is successfully established, the CGR can communicate with the head-end
systems provided the firewall is appropriately configured to pass AMI traffic.
Step 9 The smart meters can now be deployed on the field, with RF planning considerations, using tools such
as the ATDI ICS designer or ASSET by TEOCO. The meters form an RF-based connected grid mesh and
join with the CGR by creating an RPL tree. The meters are authenticated by the process outlined in CG

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Mesh Authentication, page 3-34.

Step 10 The meters are provisioned with an IPv6 address by the CGR.
Step 11 The meters can now communicate with the head-end systems. The data flow from meters to the FND and
collection engine is illustrated in the figure above. Data is encrypted and sent over the IPsec tunnel,
within which is the IPv6 over IPv4 GRE tunnel. The firewall inspects the packet and passes it since the
ports are configured to pass appropriate AMI traffic. The packet is decrypted and the HER routes the
IPv6 packet to the Collection Engine or FND as appropriate.
Step 12 Management of the meters and the CGR is the primary function of the IoT FND. Communication
between the FND and the CGR occurs using the CSMP protocol.
Step 13 Smart meters transmit their usage data over the IPv6 based RF network to the Collection Engine. In case
of solicited meter reads, the Collection Engine sends out a meter data request.
Step 14 Multicast packets from the CGR and the Collection Engine are transmitted over the IPsec tunnel as
described in IP Multicast, page 3-20.

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