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Video Review: NetGuardian 832A G5

Visit the NetGuardian 832A G5 Product Page


Hey there, this is Andrew with DPS TV.

Today we're going to be looking at the NetGuardian 832A G5 from DPS Telecom.

The G5 is an alarm remote. Now you might also know it as a remote terminal unit - or just RTU for short. Basically, you'll deploy G5's at each of your remote sites to watch over your equipment and report alarms back to your central office. These remotes form the frontline of your network monitoring.

Now the 832A G5 in particular has some really cool features in a one-rack-unit package. It's not often you get so much in a compact form factor like this.

So let's take at look at what the G5 will do for your network:

With the NetGuardian 832A G5, you're getting 32 discrete alarm inputs. Now those are the standard on-or-off inputs that monitor contact closure alarms from your site equipment. You'll use them to monitor things like doors opened and doors closed, equipment failures, power failures, generator status, tower lights, and just about anything else that can be effectively monitored with on-or-off-type information.

32 is a good number of discretes to have. That's going to cover all of your medium-sized sites pretty well. If you need more alarm inputs right now, or maybe you have a site get bigger in the future and you need some extra alarm points, you can add expansion units. Each expansion adds 48 more points in just 1 rack unit of space, and you can daisy-chain up to 3 of them to a G5 for a total of 176 discrete points at a site.

You also get the ability to remotely control site equipment with the G5. You do that using its 8 control relays. They let you remotely control things like back-up generators, doors and gates, reboot equipment, and turn anything you want on and off. The ability to issue controls like that can literally save weeks of wasted time every year driving to sites just to push a button or flip a switch. It's way better when you can handle it remotely from your central office. If you need to control more than 8 devices, you can add expansions.

You also get 8 analog inputs with the 832A G5. They tell you a lot more than discrete inputs. Discretes can only tell you "alarm or clear". Analogs tell you "how much". By simply wiring some standard analog sensors into your NetGuardian, you'll be able to get very precise measurements of temperature, humidity, voltages, battery levels, fuel levels, and a lot more. You'll also be able to set thresholds for automatic alerts when a sensor reading reaches dangerous levels, and you can also check the current reading at any time.

Let's take a look at the back panel. This RTU certainly has no shortage of connections.

Starting from the left side, we've got the electrical grounding lug to reduce electromagnetic interference. Then there are dual negative 48 volt power feeds (A and B) along with dual fuses A and B, so you still have power if a feed fails. Those are also available in negative 24 volt and plus 24 volt, as well as wide voltage range. Across the top are eight RJ-45 serial data ports for the terminal server.

When you get an alarm from a monitored device, why not Telnet to that device and try to correct it? That's way better than driving all the way to the site or buying a separate terminal server box. Any time you can access gear that's hundreds of miles away, you're saving a huge amount of wasted time and fuel. And you don't have to buy an extra terminal server because it's integrated in the remote.

Continuing along the back panel, we have a four-pin connector for analogs 7 & 8, an internal temperature sensor, and a port for plugging in an external temperature probe on a 50-foot lead. These 2 amphenol connectors handle all 32 discrete inputs, all 8 control relays, and the first 6 analogs. Up above there's an optional plus-twelve volt sensor power supply with its own fuse for powering external sensors. This keeps your sensor wiring clean and robust. Next to that is the optional 10/100 Ethernet switch, again with its own fuse. The last four ports are the dedicated accessory RS485 serial port, the Telco phone line jack for dial-up, and dual 10/100BaseT Ethernet ports for connecting to 2 networks at once. Now that adds security and versatility. Both networks are kept separate, not to mention whitelists, passwords, and other security. And users on both networks can access the same unit.

So lets talk about accessing the unit. First up is the web interface. To get to it, you just type the unit's IP address into your browser and hit enter. This NetGuardian has a really clean interface. You can use it from any workstation on the network to quickly set up your alarm point descriptions, view alarm status, issue control commands, configure paging information, and change other settings.

There's also a TTY interface for accessing the NetGuardian via Telnet, either remotely or through the front craft port.

Now you can configure the NetGuardian 832A G5 in the web interface, but the best way to do it is with the provided Windows utility called NGEdit5. You can create and save profiles and download them over LAN to your remotes in the field. The interface is nicely structured with easy-to-use tabs.

Most commonly, the G5 reports alarms to your SNMP manager using SNMP traps. It supports SNMPv1, SNMPv2c, and even the added security of SNMPv3. The NetGuardian MIB is easy to work with, and it's compatible with all SNMP managers. There's also a wireless option which reports over commercial GSM or CDMA networks. This ensures you get the alarms you need during an outage when you need them most.

Let's talk about alerts now. The NetGuardian supports 24/7 cell phone, pager, and email alerts right out of the box. This is a great way to send alarms directly to your maintenance techs in the field, even when no one's at the central office.

You can also get local alerts from the front-panel LCD, status LEDs, and the speaker. When an alarm comes in, you'll hear an audible alert from the speaker. You'll walk over to the NetGuardian and see the alarm details on the LCD screen and indicator LEDs. You'll even be able to acknowledge the alarm on-site with the front-panel control buttons.

For those of you who like to accessorize your remotes, you've got several options. We've already discussed adding up to 3 expansion chasses for 176 total alarm points and 32 control relays. You can also purchase a hinged wire-wrap back panel to terminate your alarms with wire-wrap and still be able to insert a spare easily.

You can also connect an IP camera called the SiteCAM for visual monitoring at your sites.

Finally, there's the Building Access System. When used in conjunction with the T/Mon NOC alarm master station, the NetGuardian 832A G5 can actually control access to your site with keypads and proxy card readers at each door. It's a really slick system because you just have to add the keypad or reader and small control unit near each door. The NetGuardian handles all of the access decisions. If you tried to do this with a separate system, you'd be wasting the investment you've already made in the NetGuardian and its transport. There's really no sense in buying the same thing twice.

The NetGuardian comes with free lifetime software upgrades that can be found on the DPS website and has a 2-year hardware warranty. It can be used by itself to protect your network, or with your SNMP alarm master. The NetGuardian 832A G5 is protecting networks 24 hours a day all over the world and it's the de facto choice of OEMs.

With a 30-day no-risk money-back guarantee, you just can't go wrong.

For DPS TV, this is Andrew with the NetGuardian 832A G5 alarm remote, signing off...

To learn more about the NetGuardian 832A G5 RTU, call DPS at 1-800-693-0351 or visit www.DpsTele.com/RTUs