Get a Live Demo

You need to see DPS gear in action. Get a live demo with our engineers.

Get the DNP3 White Paper

Download our free DNP3 tutorial.

An introduction to DNP3 from your own perspective.

DPS is here to help.


Have a specific question? Ask our team of expert engineers and get a specific answer!

Learn the Easy Way

Sign up for the next DPS Factory Training!

DPS Factory Training

Whether you're new to our equipment or you've used it for years, DPS factory training is the best way to get more from your monitoring.

Reserve Your Seat Today

The Basics of DNP3 Communications

DNP3 communications take place in the Distributed Network Protocol format. The DNP3 protocol is a protocol that is widely used in the water and electric utility industries. DNP3 communications are a key part of how process automation systems and devices on networks in these industries work together.

DNP3 Communications are a Key Part of Your SCADA System

The DNP3 communications are commonly used within SCADA (Site Control and Data Acquisition) systems.

DNP3 SCADA monitoring systems provide staff visibility of their DNP3 SCADA actions. The DNP3 is used within SCADA systems in the utility and power industries.

The various components of these systems communicate using the DNP3 protocol. These devices include the SCADA master (or HMI), the Remote Terminal Units (RTUs), and IED's (Intelligent Electronic Devices).

In many SCADA networks, different equipment vendors manufacture this equipment. In the days before the DNP3 communications protocol, the inability of these devices to communicate presented a problem for large utility companies who were unable to effectively manage their network of devices.

Prior to the development of DNP3, these system components were unable to talk. This stopped network operators from deploying SCADA gear made by a lot of vendors within their operations. This was a problem when a vendor dropped support for a product, as there was no way of mediating the communications.

DNP3 Communications Connect Devices from Different Vendors

DNP3 was developed specifically to meet these communications needs. Using the base of another open standard protocol in development, IEC 60870-5, DNP3 is an open-source protocol introduced to provide for an open means of communication between SCADA network devices of varying vendors.

DNP3 communications take place on layer. 2 This provides for data fragmentation, multiplexing, checking for errors, link control, prioritization, and layer 2 addressing services for user data.

Network Alarm Monitoring Provides for Added DNP3 Communications Reliability

Monitoring your DNP3 communications with an advanced master will help you to reduce your network downtime by alerting you anytime there is a problem with the DNP3 communications taking place between your various SCADA system components. You will be informed of these issues with automated pager or email notifications from your advanced alarm master.

An advanced DNP3 master will also support a number of open and proprietary legacy protocols, allowing you to combine your DNP3 events with your other alarms. By bringing all of your events into a single master, you will reduce labor, equipment, and other overhead costs associated with operating single masters. You also greatly reduce the risk of missing an important alarm while juggling different windows or workstations.

The most advanced DNP3 master will enable you to convert your DNP3 alarms into common protocols such as SNMP, to forward alarms to a Master of Masters (MoM).

Working with an advanced DNP3 master will help you to make the most of your DNP3 RTU's capabilities. It will logically organize and report these alarms to your network technicians. This will bring your network back online quickly; minimizing lost revenues while your network is down.

Make T/Mon LNX Your DNP3 Communications Master

T/Mon LNX is one such alarm master station that can provide you with instant alarm notifications anytime there is an error with your DNP3 communications. Using the DNP3 master software module, T/Mon can bring all of your DNP3 communications alarms into the same convenient browser used for all of your alarm monitoring - providing you with comprehensive SCADA visibility.

T/Mon LNX is a multi-protocol master, and can monitor your other protocols in addition to DNP3, saving you from deploying multiple expensive monitoring masters. Using multi-protocol support, you can bring all of your alarms into the T/Mon convenient, single window view.

With specific alarm details including location and repair information, as well as alarms sent via email, cell phone, or pager, your technicians will be able to quickly bring your network back online. This will save you from losing revenues to network downtime.

T/Mon will also provide you with a convenient single-window browser to view all of your DNP3 communication alarms, as well as alarms from other protocols deployed within your network. With a single browser for all of your varying protocol devices, you'll be able to maintain a single alarm master maintained by a single network operator. This will save you significant expenditures in equipment and labor.

Don't Neglect Your Important DNP3 Communications- Deploy a T/Mon Alarm Master

Your DNP3 communications are an important part of your mission-critical automated processes. You need to know right away if a problem is preventing you from providing your customers with the reliable service they demand. Deploy a T/Mon LNX with the DNP3 software module to maximize your uptime, revenue, and profits.

Related Products:

Related Topics:

DNP3 Protocol