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The Building Blocks of Remote Monitoring

Connecting Remote Sites or Facilities

You have devices and equipment operating in multiple physical locations that rely on field personnel for monitoring and maintenance. Did you know that in many cases, it's relatively easy and cost effective to connect these operations to your existing SCADA system instead? Check out this simple breakdown of the elements that make it possible for you to remotely and securely monitor all of your devices, all of the time.

Connecting Devices On Site

The first step to monitoring a remote site involves getting your devices connected to an Ethernet network. For many operations that have already been running for some time, the existing devices will not have Ethernet capability built in. Fortunately, you have different options to connect such devices and equipment to a network.

Common Connection Types

  • Ethernet
  • I/O
  • Modbus RTU
  • Serial
  • Secure VPN/Tunnel

Quick Tip

Some network connectivity products allow daisy chaining as an easy way to reduce ethernet wiring costs.

Modbus Gateways

PLC

Power Meter

RTU

I/O Module

Use Modbus gateways to seamlessly connect your Modbus devices. It's the easiest way to create immediate access via remote commands sent from your SCADA. Similar gateways are also available to support PROFIBUS, DF1, and EtherNet/IP.

CNC Machine

Device Server

Digital + Analog IO Devices

Devices with a serial port are easily connected to the network with a device server. This works great for CNCs that use their serial port to download programs or monitor current conditions.

The Local Network On Site

If you don't already have a network at your remote site, you can use Ethernet switches and wireless access points to provide the common network that these devices will connect to. Many options and form factors are available to cover different scenarios. Managed switches provide a number of advantages for monitoring applications - they can be configured for different performance requirements and can be monitored by your current SCADA system.

Ethernet I/O Modules

Easily monitor on-site door sensors, flow meters, alarms, light towers and a wide array of digital and analog input devices using inexpensive Ethernet I/O modules.

Ethernet Switches

Wi-Fi Client

Wireless Access Point

Connecting the site Back to SCADA

Each remote site need a connection to the Internet in order to connect to your SCADA system typically via Internet, leased line, or radio.

VPN Router

You should set up a secure tunnel so your SCADA system can access the remote devices. This can be done by placing a VPN router between the network on-site and the internet or WAN.

Combo Router/Switch

A combo router+switch unit can simultaneously connect and protect multiple Ethernet devices, saving you space and money.

Cellular Modem or Router

You can use cellular modems or routers if your site has no wired connection to an outside network.

SCADA System

Once these systems are in place, you will be able to monitor your remote devices and operations via your SCADA system as if they were connected locally. While there are variations in the components used for specific scenarios, you can apply these basic methods to nearly any location.