Acquiring Power, Facility and Environmental Alarms

Power, facility and environmental alarms are collected by groups of individual sensors connected to site equipment like battery plants, generators, doors, temperature sensors and so on.

Outputs from these sensors are in turn connected to a remote telemetry unit (RTU) that converts contact closure and analog inputs into a protocol output, which is forwarded to your alarm presentation master.

Every model of RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) has a defined capacity of how many contact closure and analog inputs it supports. The alarm capacity of your RTU is the limiting factor for how much alarm information you can acquire from your remote site. You don't want an RTU that has too little alarm capacity, because that will give you only vague and incomplete information about the state of the remote site. On the other hand, you don't want to pay for unneeded alarm capacity, either.

Your remote site survey will help you determine the correct alarm capacity for each type of remote site in your network. It's also a good idea to look for an RTU (Remote Telemetry Unit) whose alarm capacity can be easily upgraded. An RTU with expansion capability will grow with your remote site without your having to buy entirely new equipment.


Transport: Getting Your Alarms from the Site to Your Screen

Once alarm data collected at your remote sites, it needs to be transmitted over a data network to your alarm presentation master at your NOC. Alarm data can be sent over nearly any kind of data transport: Ethernet LAN/WAN, dial-up modem, dedicated circuit, overhead channel, etc.

There are two things you should keep in mind about alarm data transport:

1. As much as possible, you want to work with transports that are already available in your network. You don't want to create added expenses by committing yourself to installing new network infrastructure. It's best to choose an alarm system that is compatible with the transports you already have.

2. It's a good idea to have a secondary backup path for your alarm data in case your primary path fails. No transport is 100% reliable, and you don't want to lose alarm visibility of your revenue-generating network under any circumstances.

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