Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Sharon K. Black

Second Advisor

Timothy X. Brown

Third Advisor

Frank S. Barnes


Critical infrastructure includes resources which are essential to the function of society. Despite an increased focus on protecting U.S. critical infrastructure, some sectors including the electric grid are more vulnerable than ever. Existing critical infrastructure protection (CIP) regulations and the monitoring and control systems used to achieve them have not met performance expectations. This indicates that the next generation of grid control should explore new architectures.

This thesis explores the question of whether a cyber-physical system in the form of wireless sensor networks can be used to improve CIP. We examine efforts by others to design a wireless sensor module for monitoring transmission and distribution lines, and note that this work includes little information about the performance of the communications subsystem. Laboratory testing of throughput and reliability for one example communication network are undertaken here, along with consideration of the short message service as one alternative for backhauling sensor data.