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What is Remote Site Monitoring, and What RTUs are Best?

By Andrew Erickson

April 16, 2023


Remote site monitoring is more important than ever. The world is getting more and more telecom-centric. The global response to COVID created a huge push toward video streaming, both for entertainment and for web meetings.

This all means that your remote site have more demand than ever for 100% reliability. Whether you work for a telco, a power company, or any other organization - the world needs you to keep everything online.

What is Remote Site Monitoring?

Remote site monitoring is the process of monitoring and controlling equipment and systems at remote locations from a centralized location. This can include monitoring systems such as temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors, as well as controlling systems such as pumps, valves, and generators

With good remote site monitoring, you can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure that your operations run smoothly.

Why is Remote Site Monitoring So Important in 2023 and beyond?

Remote site monitoring is important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows companies to monitor and control their remote sites from a centralized location. This means that they can respond quickly to any issues that arise, reducing downtime and improving efficiency.

Secondly, remote site monitoring can help companies to reduce costs by identifying areas where energy usage can be reduced or equipment can be maintained more efficiently. Cost can be in the form of more efficient routine maintenance or via the prevention of catastrophic losses.

Finally, remote site monitoring can improve safety by alerting companies to any potential hazards or issues before they become a problem.

How Does Remote Site Monitoring Work in a Geodiverse Network or Operation?

Remote site monitoring works by using Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) located at each site, and a central alarm master station to bring the data onto one screen.

RTUs are small devices that are installed at each remote site, and they are used to monitor and control equipment and systems at that site. Your RTUs collect data from sensors and other monitoring devices and transmit this data to the central alarm master station.

The central alarm master station collects and displays this data in real-time, allowing companies to monitor their remote sites from a single location.

Recommendations for Remote Site Monitoring

If you're considering implementing remote site monitoring, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, it's important to choose the right RTUs for your needs. Make sure that they are compatible with your equipment and systems, and that they have the necessary features to monitor and control those systems effectively.

Secondly, choose a central alarm master station that is easy to use and provides the data and alerts that you need.

Finally, make sure that you have a plan in place for responding to any issues that arise. This might include having staff on call to respond to alerts or setting up automatic response systems in the first place.

Featured Remote Site Monitoring RTUs: NetGuardians

NetGuardian RTUs manufactured by DPS Telecom are a popular solution for remote site monitoring. They offer a range of features that make them a reliable and effective choice for businesses looking to monitor and control their remote sites.

Let's compare and contrast several NetGuardian RTUs to help you choose the right one for your needs. Although there are many different NetGuardian models, your choice ultimately will revolve around:

  • The capacity you need (discrete inputs, analog inputs, control relay outputs),
  • The protocols you need to support, and
  • The form factor you need. This can include rack-mount, DIN-mount, or wall-mount options.

NetGuardian 216

The NetGuardian 216 G3 is a compact RTU that is ideal for small to medium-sized remote sites. It offers 16 discrete alarms and two analog inputs, as well as support for SNMPv3 or DNP3 (DNP3 is an alternative firmware option, while virtually all DPS NetGuardians support SNMP by default).

The NetGuardian 216 is designed to operate in harsh environments and can withstand extreme temperatures (with the optional Industrial Temperature build), humidity, and electrical interference.

NetGuardian 480

The NetGuardian 480 is a larger RTU that is designed for medium to large-sized remote sites.

It offers 80 discrete alarms but relatively few analog inputs, as well as support for SNMP. The lack of analog inputs is less of a factor in today's environment, because D-Wire sensors can now fill that gap.

The NetGuardian 480 also includes a built-in web interface, allowing users to monitor and control their remote sites from any PC or smartphone.

NetGuardian 832A

The NetGuardian 832A is a high-capacity RTU that is designed for large-scale remote site monitoring. In fact, the 832A was once simply known as "the NetGuardian". It remains the flagship RTU model from DPS today.

It offers 32 discrete alarms and eight analog inputs, as well as support for SNMPv3, DNP3 (via an optional firmware build), and Modbus. The NetGuardian 832A includes a built-in web interface, as well as an LCD display for on-site monitoring.

How to compare NetGuardians

When comparing these (or any other) NetGuardian RTUs, it's important to consider your specific needs.

If you have a small to medium-sized remote site, the NetGuardian 216 may be the right fit and avoid "overkill" purchasing.

However, if you have a larger remote site, you may want to consider the NetGuardian 480 or the NetGuardian 832A.

The built-in web interface is common to all modern NetGuardians, so you'll get that no matter what.

NetGuardian RTUs are a proven solution for remote site monitoring. Whether you have a small, medium, or large remote site, there is a NetGuardian RTU that can meet your needs. Be sure to consider the specific features and capabilities of each RTU when choosing the right one for your business.

Call DPS to discuss your available options for site monitoring

Remote site monitoring is an incredibly important part of modern business and government. By using RTUs and a central alarm master station, you can monitor and control you remote sites from a single location. This helps you in multiple ways by improving efficiency, reducing costs, and improving safety.

If you're considering implementing remote site monitoring, make sure to choose the right RTUs and central alarm master station.

To speak with an engineer, call DPS at 1-800-693-0351 or email sales@dpstele.com

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and opt...