SCADA systems have evolved over the years, but they all have the same end goal – real-time data acquisition / monitoring and control. Over the years, the sensors and remote telemetry unit (RTU) interfaces have varied from analog or digital, serial copper connections and wireless. Some organizations have tried to use Wi-Fi for on-site applications, but quickly found out Wi-Fi is not robust or secure.
On wide area applications, companies are using mobile 2G/3G. Using the mobile network is more secure but cost can become a significant factor.
Today, you may also be asked to monitor and control many more IoT devices. In a WAN environment, you need to keep cost and security as the top priorities. You may be managing your own SCADA company network, or as part of an Engineering firm engaged with the municipality – discussing how to modernize using legacy devices or newer IoT wireless devices. Security and cost must the highest consideration.
For wireless connectivity, there are several wireless technologies deployed. LoRaWAN (Long Range – Low-power wide area network) has become a leading choice to aggregate device monitoring. The spectrum used is a license-free band in North America, whereas mobile bands use licensed spectrum, purchased at a high cost from the government.
RAD, an Israeli company, prides itself on rugged, secure, cost-effective product solutions. The RAD SCADA solution includes the SecFlow aggregation family of switches. The product family supports all legacy serial interfaces, Ethernet PoE, as well as LoRaWAN wireless interface. The switch interface options are analogous to a Swiss army knife, offering a plethora of interface options.
A key significant benefit of the SecFlow family, is the embedded PLC Software Container. The Linux container allows python scripts to process the collection of sensor data locally. This reduces the necessity to transmit all data to the control center. Additionally, many protocol conversion functions can be run prior to being transmitted to the centralized management server platform, including Modbus to MQTT for cloud data collection.
The following are use cases for Power Distribution and Water / Sewage sensor and control.