Large scale real time power system simulation is becoming more and more common. Utilities, manufacturers and research groups are looking to large scale simulators to develop and investigate new technologies and to demonstrate network behavior. Wide area protection and control, integration of renewables, Smart Grid initiatives and many other factors are pushing the use of large scale real time simulation.


The IRC Switch provides direct Inter-Rack Communication (IRC) between as many as 60 NovaCor chassis or PB5/GPC racks. The IRC Switch is often located in a special auxiliary cubicle along with the Global Bus Hub and Ethernet Switch.

RTDS Technologies is committed to providing the best possible technology for real time power system simulation and has directed significant research and development effort toward large scale simulators. Part of that effort included the development of the IRC Switch.

The primary function of the IRC Switch is to act as a high speed switch used to augment IRC connections for inter-rack communication. The IRC Switch is used in systems with many chassis or racks. For large Simulators (over seven racks or chassis) the IRC Switch becomes advantageous. Direct interconnection between up to 60 chassis/racks in a system is possible. The more chassis or racks the simulator has, the more benefit the IRC Switch will bring.

The IRC Switch is for use with NovaCor and/or GTWIF based simulators which are otherwise limited to six IRC connections per rack. If a simulator of greater than seven chassis/racks is in operation and the IRC Switch is not installed, not all chassis/racks will have direct communication with one another.

Very large scale networks have been successfully built and operated on simulators with more than thirty racks, but the restriction on the IRC connections had to be taken into consideration. With simplified connections and full communication between all chassis/racks, the IRC Switch allows the implementation of large scale simulations without restrictions.

The IRC Switch provides several benefits over GTWIF and previous generation IRC connected systems:

  • Greater connectivity: Without the IRC Switch, each rack can directly communicate with up to 6 other chassis/racks. The IRC Switch provides full interconnection between all racks on systems up to 60 chassis/racks.
  • Greater flexibility: Without the IRC Switch, on systems greater than 7 chassis/racks care must be taken to ensure proper rack connections. The user has to know which chassis and/or racks are connected together while building their case. With the IRC Switch, each chassis/rack can communicate directly with all the other chassis and/or racks in the system, simplifying case building.
  • Simplified wiring: Instead of up to 6 connections per chassis/rack to other chassis and/or racks, the IRC Switch requires only one fiber connection per chassis/rack to it, allowing for easy setup of larger systems. For example, in a 30 chassis/rack system, 30×6 = 180 connections were required to 30 different locations. With the IRC Switch, only 30 connections are required and they are all routed to one location.

IRC Switch Specifications

  • 12 to 60 communication ports (1 to 5 cards)
  • Each port communicates at 2GBd using 62.5/125 µm multi-mode fiber
  • Fully bi-directional interconnect between all chassis and/or PB5/GPC racks in a simulation
  • Broadcast capability allows a rack to transmit a packet to all potential receiving chassis
  • Housed in a mid-size cubicle together with the Global Bus Hub