DNP3 (Distributed Network Protocol) has been used by electric companies for over twenty years and has recently started to be adopted in the water industry as well as for oil and gas applications. DNP3 has two main advantages. First, it supports unsolicited responses, so a DNP3 field device (or outstation) can actively send messages when a specific event occurs. Second, it supports the timestamp feature, so data can be tracked regardless of the frequency of polling. Because of these advantages, DNP3 is very popular in telemetry systems and a significant number of field devices and control equipment are already utilizing it.
As the network infrastructure for communications technologies is changing rapidly, there are many networks that have recently been retrofitted and many more that will need to be retrofitted in the near future in order to keep up with the new trends that are emerging.
When a project deployment is underway, the system integrator must overcome several challenges. First, there are multiple requirements for either bridging serial-based DNP3 to Ethernet-based DNP3, or cross-converting DNP3 protocols to other protocols such as Modbus. Second, when embedded computers are used for serial-to-Ethernet commissioning, engineers have to spend a lot of time on protocol conversion as opposed to system automation, which is the main task that engineers have been hired to perform. Last, as the majority of engineers who work on these deployments are not familiar with the protocols that are used to solve communication issues, the deployment will typically take longer and therefore incur increased operational costs.
Find out below how Moxa can help you handle DNP3-related protocol conversions.