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Overview of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) SCADA is a centralized monitoring and control system which is used to a specific plant site or equipment that is stationed at a long distance. The unique and complex software application of the SCADA system has been favored by many companies, such as water and waste control, energy, oil and gas refining, transportation, telecommunications industries, to automate their multifaceted processes and, at the same time, detect and correct problems, and measure projected trends. In order for the SCADA system meet its objective of monitoring and controlling a company’s operating process, the system first collects data and analyze them. Data acquisition, network data communication, data presentation, and control are the four main functions which the SCADA system is designed to perform. To be able to perform these functions, SCADA system is equipped with the following components: sensors and control relays, Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs), master units, and a communication network, which consists of input/output signal hardware, networks, Human-machine Interface (HMI), controllers, communication, database, and software. There are two types of devices which are utilized by the SCADA system to perform its controlling function and these devices are RTUs or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Comparing the two devices, the RTUs has a more advanced functionality feature allowing for a more efficient and secure monitoring system.
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It is called Human-Machine Interface because it partners with a human operator by serving as a master station that communicates the processed status and information collected along the SCADA system to the human operator. It is therefore easy for operators to view the system alarms and information communicated by the HMI and from that, decisions are also easily made. For security reasons, SCADA information are kept on closed LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) networks in order to prevent any sensitive data from being exposed to outsiders over the Internet.
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By using NetGuardian 832A, which is another support network system, the company can save cost from using LAN, which is expensive, to all its sites. In the future, if the company expands their LAN network into their other remote sites, the cost will still be worth the expansion investment as there will be savings by the company on RTU replacements, which are usually employed to support the new network. The following are the overview functions and features of the SCADA system, depending on what specific features a company desires to employ: performs the work of an OPC Server or Protocol Translator, translate between any number of available protocols, includes a protocol analyzer, built in equation editor supports the creation of new data points based on raw data points and /or other equation points, OPC Certified, Conformance tested per DNP3 Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) Certification Procedure Subset Level2, report by Exception (RBE) is supported (transmitting only data changes, saving communication channel bandwidth), supports DNP3 Secure Authentication, supports selective logging of event data into a time-stamped Sequence of Events (SOE) log file, the Communication Protocol Analyzer Window displays and decodes transmitted and received messages, allows translation between data types and control methods from different protocols, supports mapping of points between Master and Slave, two Master, and/or two Slave protocol components.