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InterMapper: Review Your RTU Options

By Morgana Siggins

July 14, 2020


Are you on the process of planning your remote monitoring system? Are you planning to use InterMapper?

If so, you also need efficient remote terminal units (RTUs). RTUs are responsible for collecting information about your remote equipment and site conditions and send it all to your InterMapper.

RTUs are rugged electronic devices with attached sensors that will reliably sit out at your remote site and monitor what's going on. They will then be able to tell your InterMapper when something's wrong is happening.

But, before making a rushed choice, it's important to review and analyze the best kinds of RTUs in the market that will work well for your unique scenario. This way, you can make a conscious choice and get complete visibility over your remote network.

So, let's get started.

What is InterMapper?

InterMapper's network monitoring software allows you to create a network map, giving you a live view of what's going on in your network. Color-coded statuses tell you what's up and what's down.

When there's a problem, InterMapper sends you real-time alerts via text, email, sound, and etc. This allows you to be able to find and fix technology issues before your end-users or customers are impacted.

The key features of the InterMapper are:

  • Automatic network mapping
  • Proactive network monitoring
  • Robust network management
  • Smart alerting
  • Network capacity planning
  • Informative dashboard views

What Are Your RTU Options to Work With InterMapper?

In a remote monitoring structure, you have a master station managing the information collected by remote terminal units (RTUs). And usually, the master can also send control commands to them.

That's why, in order to get the most out of your remote monitoring system, it's important to deploy efficient RTUs along with your InterMapper. Important features that competent RTUs should have include:

  • Detailed alarm notifications through many different methods
  • Web interface
  • Live analog monitoring
  • Control relays
  • SNMP support and ping alarms

With that in mind, take a look at the following examples of cost-effective RTUs that will improve the quality of information delivered to you - enhancing your network visibility.

The NetGuardian 832A G5

Your first RTU option is the NetGuardian 832A. This RTU not only gives you flexible and competent alarm collection features, but it also includes advanced hardware, increased processing speed, and enhanced security options.

The capacity of this RTU is 32 discrete inputs, 8 analog inputs, and 8 control relays. This is the perfect capacity to monitor all of your important discrete and analog alarm points. Also, this RTU comes with 32 ping alarm inputs and dual NICs.

And, you can also choose to get a 10/100 switch and your choice of power-input voltages. These options allow you to customize your NetGuardian to your requirements.

In terms of hardware, the 832A's case has removable hatch panels that allow you to adjust the normally open/normally closed (NO/NC) Form-C relays and your 8 analog voltage/current configurations more easily. This way, you won't have to take the top off the chassis - all you have to do is use the NetGuardian 832A's convenient access panels.

This RTU has a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet interface for both network ports. It also gives you dual fuses for dual power in your NetGuardian deployment. With separately fused A and B power feeds, you are able to easily install and turn-up your RTU.

An aspect that makes the NetGuardian 832A different from other RTUs in the market is that it has an additional RS-485 port. This gives you even more terminal server functionality, and you're able to combine it with the 8 existing RS-232 ports of the unit.

The NetGuardian 480

Do you need a high-capacity SNMP responder? If so, then the NetGuardian 480 is the RTU for you. It is designed to do one thing extremely well - it is designed to collect an entire site's worth of discrete alarm inputs and mediate them as SNMP traps.

The result, as you might imagine, is a highly cost-effective monitoring solution. It will gather data from all your different remote equipment and it will integrate all this information into your network master station.

The main feature of the NetGuardian 480 is its 80 discrete alarm inputs (this is more than double of the capacity of the NetGuardian 832A). Due to this high-capacity, you can easily take care of an entire small or even medium-sized site with only one unit.

This dense alarm coverage gives you the convenience of a single device solution. This means that you can save the costs of buying multiple low-capacity RTUs. This also means that you'll get the lowest possible cost per alarm input.

Since the NetGuardian 480 is also an SNMP proxy-agent, it is the perfect solution for mediating discrete communication alarms. This RTU is built to capture your discrete alarm information entirely. So, you can expect to never receive a useless, nonspecific trap message that barely tells you that something happened somewhere.

This RTU unit is able to send SNMP traps to multiple different SNMP managers via LAN or WAN. This way, you can adopt the best practice of having dual redundant master stations, in a case, a complete backup is needed.

Speaking of backup, the NetGuardian 480 has dual -48VDC power feeds. This allows your network to always be online.

The NetGuardian 480 is an efficient, high-capacity RTU that will give you full visibility and control over your remote sites.

The TempDefender

If you need an RTU specialized in monitoring your all your environmental levels, bu that can also monitor equipment alarms, then the TempDefender is the device for you. It collects important status information from your servers, phone closets, data centers, and other equipment sites, and it reports it all to you or your master station.

The TempDefender reports alarms through SNMP protocol to your SNMP manager over LAN (or DCPx over IP to the T/Mon master station).

Now, for capacity, the TempDefender is a compact RTU. It gives you 8 discrete alarms on the back panel. These are used to monitor dry contacts, such as motion sensors, UPS, smoke detectors, flood sensors, AC and room entry.

This RTU also has 4 digital sensor inputs (it supports up to 16 sensors in total) on the back panel. These inputs will give you the ability to protect your network from environmental threats. Also, if needed, you can choose to have your TempDefender support 3 control relays.

If you don't have an SNMP manager or a T/Mon, and just need a handful of devices, you can monitor them using only its built-in web interface. Through the web interface, you can log on to the TempDefender from anywhere on your network to edit your settings and thresholds, as well as view the status of your site.

The TempDefender makes it easy for you to never have to wonder about the environmental levels in your remote facilities. With this RTU you can get all the information you need in a timely manner - right from your network PC.

The NetGuardian 216F

The NetGuardian 216F is a LAN-based and fiber-based RTU. This robust unit counts with 2 SFP fiber ports, LAN access for 7 network elements, VLAN support, and the option for temperature and battery monitoring. With the VLAN support, you can make your 216F and joined devices communicate to the right components in your network without installing a separate router.

In terms of capacity, the 216F has 16 discrete alarms, 16 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms (4 general, 2 for temperature and 2 for batteries), and 2 control relays. If you need more capacity, you can do so with the NetGuardian DX expansion unit.

This all makes the NetGuardian 216F a versatile monitoring solution for remote sites that don't have LAN.

The NetGuardian DIN

Do you have a small remote site that doesn't need an RTU with a lot of capacity? If so, you need a compact unit that won't be overkill for your small application.

The NetGuardian DIN is designed to be an RTU for small networks, but that won't leave any important equipment unmonitored. This is a small form-factor device with the right capacity.

It features 8 discrete alarm points, 1 temperature analog channel, and support for up to 15 D-Wire sensors. Additional features include the alarm reporting via SNMPv1, v2c or v3 and Power over Ethernet technology.

The NetGuardian DIN offers you a time-tested design that won't let you pay for more than what you'll ever be able to use.

The Bottom Line

Finding a cost-effective RTU that will meet all your unique requirements is sometimes a very hard task to accomplish. Most companies only offer off-the-shelf options, which means you'll end up buying devices with more or less capacity than what you actually need.

To avoid wasting your budget on the capacity you'll never be able to use or on multiple devices to achieve the capacity that you need, you can find a perfect-fit solution instead. A perfect-fit solution means that your remote monitoring vendor will be able to design and manufacture a device that will meet your requirements 100%.

It won't matter if you have a legacy protocol if you need a particular interface, or an in-between capacity - a vertically integrated manufacturer will be able to help you.

And that's what we are. DPS has been in business for more than 30 years providing custom-fit solutions to attend unique needs. Talk to us and know more about what we can do for you.

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins is a marketing writer, content creator, and documentation specialist at DPS Telecom. She has created over 200 blog articles and videos sharing her years of experience in the remote monitoring industry.