RTU Definition And Explanation

Related Topics:
What is an RTU?

This RTU definition is part of a series of articles describing: "What is an RTU?"

First, you need to know what the letters R-T-U stand for. There are actually two different definitions, but they mean almost exactly the same thing:

  • Remote Terminal Unit.
  • Remote Telemetry Unit.

(If you've searched online for "RTU", you've also probably found more than a few different "R______ Technical University" results)

Let's break down these 3 words.

Remote.
An RTU is a device that you install at a remote location to monitor the other equipment you have there (plus relevant environmental values like temperature, humidity, and water leakage that have a direct effect on electronic equipment). There's not much reason to have an RTU where you have full-time staffing, because those areas are already covered by watchful personnel at all times (OK, someone could fall asleep on the job, but you get the idea).

Terminal / Telemetry.
This device is going to act as a terminal for telemetry information. It's a terminal in the sense that data is collected from individual pieces of your equipment, aggregated at the RTU, then sent to you using your chosen communications method. The alarm data that's sent to you is known as "telemetry". The word "telemetry" is also commonly used in hospitals to describe very similar data: a patient's health status (which is conceptually not much different from your network equipment's health status).

Unit.
This one's easy. An RTU is a single unit/device that performs the functions described above.

Selecting the Perfect RTU
Download the free Selecting the Perfect RTU White Paper.

View the DPS Online Catalog of RTUs.

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