Smart substations will require protocols specific to the needs of electric utilities while ensuring interconnectivity and interoperability of the protection, monitoring, control, and data acquisition devices. This chapter describes the industry efforts and developments that are aimed toward leveraging the monitoring and control potential of inverter-based distributed energy resources (DER), including the challenges that utilities must face when integrating large numbers of DERs into their system. It provides an overview of protection systems, also describes the differences of fault contribution between inverter-based DER and conventional generation technologies, their implications for utility operation, and merits and demerits of conventional and advanced protection systems for modern distribution systems. The chapter also provides a summary of some of the key concepts of the standard that have the most significant impact on the substation design. IEC 61850 is a vendor-neutral, open systems standard for utility communications, significantly improving functionality while yielding substantial customer savings.