DNP3 (Distributed Network Protocol) has been used by electric companies for over twenty years and has recently started to be adopted in the water industry as well as for oil and gas applications. DNP3 has two main advantages. First, it supports unsolicited responses, so a DNP3 field device (or outstation) can actively send messages when a specific event occurs. Second, it supports the timestamp feature, so data can be tracked regardless of the frequency of polling. Because of these advantages, DNP3 is very popular in telemetry systems and a significant number of field devices and control equipment are already utilizing it.
As the network infrastructure for communications technologies is changing rapidly, there are many networks that have recently been retrofitted and many more that will need to be retrofitted in the near future in order to keep up with the new trends that are emerging.
When a project deployment is underway, the system integrator must overcome several challenges. First, there are multiple requirements for either bridging serial-based DNP3 to Ethernet-based DNP3, or cross-converting DNP3 protocols to other protocols such as Modbus. Second, when embedded computers are used for serial-to-Ethernet commissioning, engineers have to spend a lot of time on protocol conversion as opposed to system automation, which is the main task that engineers have been hired to perform. Last, as the majority of engineers who work on these deployments are not familiar with the protocols that are used to solve communication issues, the deployment will typically take longer and therefore incur increased operational costs.
Find out below how Moxa can help you handle DNP3-related protocol conversions.
One Solution for All Your Needs
Moxa’s MGate 5109 serial-to-Ethernet gateway supports multiple Modbus to DNP3 conversions, including Modbus RTU/ASCII, Modbus TCP, and DNP3 serial/TCP/UDP protocols. As all of these conversions can be performed within a single model, the need to purchase, deploy, and set up multiple devices to perform all of these conversions is eliminated. The MGate 5109 can either convert protocols using the transparent mode, or perform different roles, such as acting as an agent to communicate with the field devices.
Protocol conversion is challenging because engineers need to understand the roles of the system and configure different parameters correctly. Moxa’s MGate gateways are configured by using a user-friendly web console that walks you through the entire setup process, helping users avoid making errors.
Auto Detection for DNP3 Object
The MGate 5109 can also auto detect the points index for each binary input, binary output, counter, analog input, and analog output. Instead of having to manually input the number from the product’s user manual, users can click “Auto Detection” and the MGate will automatically input the settings.
For troubleshooting or management purposes, users can first monitor the system status by using the diagnose function, which detects the communication status of the DNP3. In addition, the diagnose function can also detect the status of each of the points, including on/off and analog values.
Furthermore, the MGate 5109 supports a protocol traffic monitoring tool, which provides the Modbus RTU/ASCII or DNP3 with data passing through the gateway on the serial network. Rather than simply echoing the data, it presents the data in an intelligent, easy-to-understand format with clearly designated fields, including source, type, destination, contents, as well as several other fields. Events can be filtered in different ways and the complete log can be saved as a file for later analysis.