Power grid surveillance: Topology change detection system using power line communications

Javier Hernandez Fernandez, Aymen Omri*, Roberto Di Pietro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper proposes an efficient channel impulse response (CIR)-based technique to detect topology changes in the power grid. The features of the proposed approach include the following aspects: (i) it is a software-only solution, not requiring any intervention on the current smart grid architecture; (ii) topology changes can be detected via a simple distributed algorithm that requires only local communications; and, (iii) both memory and computational footprints of the proposed solution are minimal. The above-mentioned features make this contribution notably appealing for the resource-constrained smart grid domain. Furthermore, the paper provides a detailed discussion of the introduced technique, accompanied by an implementation reflecting a realistic use case, and presents an extensive simulation campaign to show the quality and viability of the proposed approach. A unique feature of our solution is that it performs well even when the communication channel is affected by a high noise level. For instance, with noise levels below 100 dBμV (the typical PLC noise power range), the proposed solution showed a ≈100% detection rate. To the best of our knowledge, our solution is the first one proposing a fully CIR-based, distributed, deterministic algorithm for intrusion detection and localization. We believe that the performance and advantages of the proposed technique pave the way for further smart grid applications and solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108634
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Channel impulse response
  • Physical layer
  • Power line communications
  • Security
  • Smart grid
  • Surveillance
  • Topology change detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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