At first glance, a survey of your remote site might show that you need to monitor a few basic environmental alarms or a few pieces of equipment. So you may think that you're looking for a system that can monitor 6 alarm points. But is that enough?
Let's examine elements of remote sites that require monitoring. Identifying these elements will help you plan your remote site monitoring needs. Also, it will help you choose the right RTU for your specific needs.
Contact closures are known as alarm inputs, discrete alarms, or digital inputs. Discrete alarm points are those which can be measured in terms of "On/Off", "Opened/Closed" or "Yes/No".
Here are items that are commonly monitored as discrete alarms:
Using SNMP environmental alarm monitoring is a common method to keep an eye on environmental conditions at your facility.
Analog alarm inputs typically measure a range of values, unlike on/off discrete alarms. A common example of an analog application is the measurement of temperature.
If you have analog alarm values to measure, you need to define the thresholds at which your monitoring system will take action.
For example, suppose you are measuring the temperature of a remote site. Building temperatures range from 10 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Under normal conditions, the building's heating and cooling system will keep the temperature within an acceptable range. To take advantage of multiple analog values, you might set up 4 different threshold values like below:
Note: To gain this level of detailed visibility, be sure to look for a monitoring system that can accept at least four separate analog threshold values.
You may have devices such as PBXs, routers, and switches at your remote site that need setting up, also referred to as provisioning. Normally, this would involve driving to the sight, setting up a laptop, and creating a terminal session through the device's "Craft Port" (typically a serial port-"craft" is a reference to the craft personnel who work with telemetry devices).
You may also need to manage streaming ASCII data from one of these devices. Often, ASCII data is sent to a serial printer port either to be printed or captured into a database.
In both of these cases, a remote solution is ideal. Make sure that if you do have such devices and applications, you look for the following features in a remote monitoring system:
Note: Be sure to allow some room for expansion. Once you discover the advantages of a remote terminal server, you're sure to find more applications, which will require more serial ports.
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