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DNP3 Protocol Explained in Details A set of communication protocols commonly used by water and electric companies includes the DNP3 stack which is an abbreviation for Distributed Network Protocol. Other companies rarely use the DNP3 protocols. To ease communication between different types of equipment that are used to collect data it would be wise to use DNP3 stack. For supervisory management and control DNP3 protocols are used. SCADA systems rely heavily on DNP3 stack especially to pass data from master stations to Remote Terminal Units or intelligent electronic Devices (IEDs). The way DNP3 stack came about is fascinating. Since the IEC 60870-5 was under development there was a need to have a standard that would permit interoperability between different vendors SCADA components for the electrical grid.
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The usefulness of DNP3 protocol is seen in areas where installing electric utility automation systems is a challenge. The distortion caused by EMI could be overcome by use of DNP3 stack. The aging components could be made to last longer by using the DNP3 stack. Through the use of DNP3 protocol poor transmission media would improve drastically.
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The reliability of the DNP3 stack cannot be questioned. However, its security is questionable. Malicious people or hackers could interfere with the DNP3 protocol. So control systems and critical infrastructure could be interfered with especially if the DNP3 stack is the major communication protocol. DNP3 protocol has in the recent past gotten new features that have contributed to improved security. Secure authentication features has been added to the DNP3 protocol. Since the DNP3 protocol complies with IEC 62351-5 they are deemed suitable. You don’t have to replace anything if you want to change DNP3 stack to IEC 62351-5, since both are compliant you would just need to add little features to make them work together. Firmness, efficiency and ability to be interoperable than the aged protocols makes DNP3 very suitable. Due to its complexity the DNP3 stack cannot be compared with other protocols. Settle for DNP3 protocol if you want a stack that offers multiplexing and data fragmentation. To check for errors and link control you could use the DNP3 protocol. Another advantage of the DNP3 protocol is their support of the time synchronization with a RTU. The DNP3 stack could be able to receive adequate data to reconstruct a sequence of events that happens in between the polls. It is important that a thorough analysis of various protocols is carried out to ensure that they indeed good enough.