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DNP3 Protocol or stack is an abbreviation for Distributed Network Protocol which is simply a set of communication protocols used in utilities such as the water and electric companies. Other companies rarely use the DNP3 protocols. The main reason the DNP3 stack was developed is to ease communication between different kinds of equipment that are used to collect data.
For the purposes of supervisory management Supervisory control and data acquisition the DNP3 is used for protocol for supervisory management and control. To pass data from master stations to Remote terminal units or intelligent electronic Devices (IEDs) the SCADA systems rely heavily on DNP3 protocols.
DNP3 stack was created in a way that is intriguing. 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 DNP3 stack helps to overcome distortion caused by EMI. The aging components could be made to last longer by using the DNP3 stack. Poor transmission media may as well be improved through the use of the DNP3 protocol.
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The people who developed DNP3 stack ensured that it offered the highest dependability possible. However, its security is questionable. The DNP3 protocol could be interfered with by any malicious person or hacker since it’s not that secure. Due to the level of insecurity associated with DNP3 major critical infrastructure and control systems could come to a standstill if malevolent forces come into play. DNP3 protocol has in the recent past gotten new features that have contributed to improved security. DNP3 stack has gotten authentication features that assure improved security. Since the DNP3 protocol complies with IEC 62351-5 they are deemed suitable. The compliance of DNP3 protocol with the IEC 62351-5 makes it less challenging when switching to either of the two.
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.
The DNP3 protocol is among the best stacks since it offers multiplexing, data fragmentation. DNP3 protocol is good since it could help check for errors and link control.
The DNP3 stack also supports time synchronization with 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.