An RTU that includes remote control capability reduces potentially multi-hour-travel to a simple mouse click (or even a fully automated response).
Once your RTU has collected important information, it needs a way to tell you about it. First, you have to choose one or more communication channels. In many cases, you'll simply use LAN/Ethernet. For more remote sites (or those with legacy tech), you might use another method like dial-up modem, wireless GSM/CDMA, or dedicated RS232/RS485 serial.
Once the channel is set, your RTU will use a protocol to send status information; one of the most common is SNMP ("Simple Network Management Protocol")
This is common on RTUs designed for either Telecom or IT environments. Directly monitored RTUs can use HTTP/HTTPS to provide an on-board web interface that you can access from any web browser on the network. SCADA RTUs will tend to use DNP3 or Modbus to communicate. Many older RTUs use vendor-specific protocols that are only compatible with master stations from that same vendor, or multi-protocol master stations like T/Mon.
With data logged from your RTU and sent as discussed above, how will you receive information so you can take action? In larger RTU deployments, you might have dozens or hundreds of units in the field. It's smart to use a central master station that collects alarms from all RTUs, then summarizes all detected problems in a single, convenient interface.
If you have just a few RTUs, you can monitor each unit using increasingly common web interfaces that describe events collected by just one RTU at a time. More advanced RTUs and master stations can also send you a text message or recorded-voice phone call to alert you to serious problems.
DPS Telecom even has a few clients who run sandwich shops (monitor temperature of deli meats), car washes (detect gear status and times when pipes might freeze and burst), and pig farms (pigs are very sensitive to changing temperatures and humidities).
In summation an RTU is a device that provides supervisory control and data acquisition over remote sites vital to your business interests. They're used in all sorts of businesses, from telecom to utilities to public safety and more.
No matter the industry, RTUs are adaptable and efficient automation devices; reducing manual and repetitive labor key to mission critical operations.
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