(Homework Solution): Question: State the main differences between balanced and unbalanced communications of IEC 60870-5-101. [4 …

State the main differences between balanced and unbalanced communications of IEC 60870-5-101. [4 Marks]

Expert Answer


IEC-101, balanced mode

Dial-up networks are point-to-point. If there is a single modem on SCADA side it can be

connected to a single RTU simultaneously

The balanced mode on IEC-101 means that either the RTU or SCADA can initiate the connection.

Dial-up networks are typically pay-per-time making it unpractical to keep the line constantly

connected. In this kind of system the balanced mode can be used to achieve higher

efficiency. The RTU will dial-up to SCADA when it has information to send.

The SCADA can also dial-up to RTU in order to make control or monitoring actions etc.

The Balanced mode is not practical on shared-media networks

where the centralized polling is required in order to manage the usage of the shared


Typically it is used on circuit-switched/dial based networks where the

connection cannot be always “on” for following reason:

IEC-101, unbalanced mode

Typically the RTU can be configured to the unbalanced mode but many RTUs additionally support also the balanced mode.

When the IEC-101 is used on unbalanced mode only the SCADA can initiate the connection to

RTU, not other way around. This also means that the SCADA needs to poll the RTU for events

quite frequently to get the required information.

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