The IEC 61850 :
a comprehensive series
When people are speaking of IEC 61850, they may speak of very different aspects of IEC 61850, which may lead to some confusion.
One first aspect to not forget : the IEC 61850 is much more than a communication protocol, and user may benefits of the highest value of IEC 61850 even without having in mind the use of the communication aspects of the standard.
Its unique modelling capabilities are so advanced that it can be used just for the purpose of specifying an electrical system and associated functions, or for the purpose of exchanging meaningful data over other industrial communication means such as the IEC 60870-5-101:104.
In order to get deeper in understanding IEC 61850, splitting it into four main aspects may help :
IEC 61850 semantic
The IEC data model holds the semantics which ensures semantic interoperability by design
IEC 61850 language
The System Description Language (SCL) is the basis for a seamless and interoperable engineering process
IEC 61850 communication protocols
The set of communication protocols, transposing a same set of abstract communication services, are the basis for real-time communication between field devices, meeting the highly demanding requirements of electrical-related functions.
IEC 61850 security
The IEC 62351 series guarantees the security of data exchanged with the IEC 61850 protocols.