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Best RTUs At Any Price

By Morgana Siggins

December 16, 2019

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Not all monitoring systems are created equal, and that makes choosing the right system very important. An RTU with limited features will only provide you with a false sense of security. You'll think you're protected when in reality you aren't. That's "worse than useless".

For this reason, your RTU is no good if you don't choose and deploy the right one to fit your site. There are many models out there with a wide range of different inputs, outputs, and capabilities - and that's why you need to do your homework to choose the right one.

However, selecting the right technology doesn't have to be a hassle - and it certainly doesn't have to be expensive. Can you imagine just how much easier your job would be if you had a versatile and future-proofed device - one that could provide you with powerful monitoring functionality? You'd never have to worry about obstacles slowing you down or equipment emergencies crippling your network. The right RTU will pay for itself over and over if it can help you prevent just one network outage.

The first and most important step in choosing the right RTU is arming yourself with the information you need to make good decisions. So, why not start by taking a look at the best RTUs out there?

1. NetGuardian 832A G5

If you're looking to equip your remote sites with monitoring technology that will keep up with your network, you don't have to look any further. The NetGuardian 832A G5 boasts several enhancements from previous NetGuardian models - which include advanced hardware, increased processing speed, and enhanced security options.

NetGuardian 832A G5
This isn't just any RTU. It's a NetGuardian 832A G5. You're investing in a field-proven, full-featured alarm remote unit. Various NetGuardian 832A G5s with different build options have been used in hundreds of networks worldwide.

The higher-speed processor allows you to process alarms faster than ever before, and will provide you with a significantly faster web interface. It also supports more processor-intense functions. You'll truly be able to perform advanced monitoring tasks with this NetGuardian.

This RTU also has expanded memory capacity, having more RAM and flash memory than any existing generation of NetGuardian. This allows it to have substantially more functionality. The additional memory space allows for future firmware updates, and you can utilize the RTU for the implementation of security features. This is key if your company is security-conscious.

The NetGuardian 832A comes with 8 control relays, 8 analog inputs, and 32 discrete alarm inputs. These are handy for monitoring all of your important discrete and analog alarm points. The RTU is also packed with 32 ping alarm inputs and dual NICs. You also get a 10/100 switch (which is optional) and your choice of power-input voltages. This allows you to customize your RTU to meet the needs of your remote sites.

The NetGuardian 832A's case design brings you improvements as well with more specific new features. The case has removable hatch panels that allow you to adjust the NO/NC Form-C relays and your 8 analog voltage/current settings more easily. You don't have to take the top off of the chassis. You can use the NetGuardian 832A's convenient access panels.

This RTU features a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet interface for both network ports. It also provides you with dual fuses for dual power in your NetGuardian deployment. With separately fused A and B power feeds, you can easily install and turn-up the 832A.

Another point that differentiates the NetGuardian 832A from other RTUs in the market is the fact that it has an additional RS485 port. This allows you to interface your remotes to the GLD and ECU. This added serial port gives you even more terminal server functionality - and you're able to combine it with the eight existing RS232 ports of the unit.

If you need build options to maximize your analog monitoring, the NetGuardian 832A can provide that to you as well. It offers an external temperature sensor build option, which uses one of its eight analog channels.

Other than these hardware upgrades, the NetGuardian 832A also has an improved NetLoader download software. It's designed to work better on your busier networks. With improved error checking, you'll have more reliable performance. This means that, when packets don't get through your communications network, you'll know.

So, in a nutshell, the following points are the powerful features that the NetGuardian 832A brings:

  • High capacity - 32 discrete alarms (expandable to 176), 32 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms, 8 controls, and 8 serial ports.

  • Reports alarms via SNMPv1, SNMPv2c, SNMPv3, or DCPX.

  • It has a Wireless Connection Option (either CDMA or GSM).

  • It brings the GigE SFP Fiber Interface option.

  • Another option is the 16S - with that you can get 8 additional serial data ports.

  • It has T1/E1 Interface option.

  • You can opt to have your alarms reported via DNP3 Protocol.

  • Ping method via SNMPv1 GET - you'll get more important status info from your ping targets.

  • You can report alarms to multiple SNMP managers or to the T/Mon Remote Alarm Monitoring System, so it's easier than ever to support a more secure redundant master architecture.

  • This RTU features dual Ethernet support for secure network access, both NICs have access to the unit but not to each other.

  • 8 high-speed (110K) serial ports provide multiple user LAN-based reach through access to PBXs, switches, and any other device with a craft port or serial only interface (it's similar to terminal server functionality).

  • The integrated 4 port 10/100 switch allows functionality with the NetGuardian SiteCAM for visual site surveillance.

  • This unit has a multi-layer, multi-privilege security system.

  • It features HTTPS (via SSL) with an optional Hardware Accelerator.

  • It also brings RADIUS authentication.

  • The alarm point grouping provides severity levels, as well as custom virtual alarms.

  • If you're overseas, the NetGuardian 832A is also RoHS 5 compliant.

  • It has an alternate dial-up reporting path, which is useful in case of a primary communication path failure.

  • You can configure your unit and monitor you alarms via a web browser.

  • You can receive email and pager notifications.

  • We provide you with free lifetime firmware upgrades.

  • It also comes with a free Windows-based utility for off-site editing and remote provisioning via LAN.

Other than this long list of capabilities, the 832A also has multiple customizations and expansion options, some of them are:

  • You opt to start with 32 discrete alarms, 32 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms, 2 controls, and 4 serial ports - and expand to the capacity you want.

  • You can integrate it with the Building Access System.

  • You can add sensors for temperature, humidity, vibration, etc.

  • You have the option to integrate site video surveillance into the NetGuardian web interface to help you confirm alarms and increase site security.

  • The NetGuardian hinged back panel accessories provide alternatives for wiring your alarm points. Wire wrap, screw-lug terminations, and punch blocks are some of the wiring options available.

We truly designed this RTU with client-requested features in mind. The NetGuardian 832A will give you increased functionality, and will increase your network uptime - making your job easier.

2. NetGuardian 216F

The NetGuardian 216F is a powerful, LAN-based, fiber-based RTU with all the versatility you expect from a NetGuardian. With 2 SFP fiber ports, LAN access for 7 network elements, options for temperature and battery monitoring, and VLAN support, the NetGuardian 216F makes a great monitoring solution for areas without existing LAN.


The NetGuardian 216F is capable of converting your 1000BaseX fiber to 10/100/1000BaseT LAN and giving you the critical network monitoring you need.

In a nutshell, the following points are what makes the NetGuardian 216F one of the best RTUs in the market:

  • 16 discrete alarms, 16 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms (4 general, 2 for temperature and 2 for batteries), and 2 controls.

  • 2 SFP Fiber Ports (1000Base-X).

  • Reports alarms via SNMPv1, v2c and v3.

  • Integrated 10/100/1000 BaseT Ethernet switch, which provides connectivity to far-end devices.

  • With the VLAN support you can make your 216F and joined devices talk to the right components in your network without installing a separate router.

  • Industrial temperature rating to withstand extreme conditions.

  • This RTU supports temperature and battery monitoring.

  • This unit also supports the Building Access System (BAS).

  • The 216F also brings you a web interface, so you can monitor without a master.

  • You can choose between AC or DC power.

  • We also offer you free firmware upgrades via LAN.

  • It has expandable discrete alarms and controls via NetGuardian DX Expansion units.

  • Just like the NetGuardian 832A, this unit is RoHS 5 approved.

  • You can receive notifications via email or pager alerts.

  • This RTU also includes a Windows-based editor for off-site editing and remote provisioning via LAN.

3. NetGuardian 480

The NetGuardian 480 is optimized for use as a high-capacity SNMP responder. We've designed the NG 480 to do one thing and do it supremely well - collect an entire site's worth of discrete alarm inputs and mediate them as SNMP traps.


The NetGuardian 480 is a specialized member of the NetGuardian family, optimized for use as a high-capacity discrete-only responder. The result is a highly cost-effective solution for gathering the diverse equipment at your remote site and integrating it into a single modern network management system.

The result is a highly cost-effective solution for gathering the diverse equipment at your site and integrating it into a single modern network management system.

The central feature of the NetGuardian 480 is its 80 discrete point inputs - more than double the capacity of the NetGuardian 832A. You can easily cover an entire small or medium-sized site with this one unit. The NG 480's dense alarm coverage gives you the convenience of a single-box solution, saves you the cost of buying multiple low-capacity RTUs, and offers you the lowest possible cost per point.

Also, as an SNMP proxy agent, the NetGuardian 480 is the ideal solution for mediating discrete telecommunication alarms. This unit is designed to fully capture your discrete alarm data. The NG 480 will never send an uninformative generic trap that merely tells you something happened somewhere.

This RTU forwards SNMP traps to multiple SNMP managers via your LAN or WAN, so you can easily set up a dual redundant master system, for a complete backup monitoring plan.

And, on the subject of backups, the NetGuardian 480 also has dual -48VDC power feeds, to ensure that your network monitoring is always online.

Here's how the NG 480 will give you complete visibility and control of your remote site:

  • It has 2 control relays for operating backup equipment and security devices or rebooting remote equipment - which you can control directly from your SNMP manager.

  • Its front panel LEDs give immediate local visibility of alarm state and network status.

  • The web browser interface allows multiple users to monitor alarms, operate controls, or configure the unit from any PC connected to your network.

The configuration of the NetGuardian 480 is intuitive - using a web browser or TTY interface. You can configure the unit through the network or through a local connection to the craft port conveniently located on the front panel.

The unit also comes standard with 4 Form-C control relays and a serial port, both of which provide remote control and access to your remote sites. You can operate controls through the web interface and use the unit's serial port to reach-through into serial-only equipment on site.

You can also customize your NetGuardian 480 with a D-Wire sensor port and internal temperature sensor. The D-Wire port allows you to connect up to 16 analog sensors (in series) to your NetGuardian. D-Wire sensors are all powered by the NetGuardian (bus-powered) as well, allowing you to extend a chain of sensors up to 600 feet from your RTU.

The NetGuardian's web interface makes provisioning your RTU and monitoring alarms quick and easy. You can operate control relays, configure your NetGuardian to send SNMP traps to multiple alarm masters, and setup email notifications from alarms, all from any computer on your network.

As a summary, these are the benefits of the NetGuardian 480:

  • It has the high-capacity of 80 discrete inputs - you can cover your entire site with a single unit.

  • 4 (Form C) control relays.

  • Convenient single-box solution saves costs of buying multiple units - economical cost per point.

  • Reports to multiple SNMP managers or to T/Mon.

  • Notifications via SNMP or email.

  • Configurable alarm descriptions include detailed, actionable alarm data in SNMP trap autonomous messages.

  • Free, fast, and easy-to-use web interface for editing database, configuration, monitoring, diagnostics, and testing.

  • Standard dual -48VDC power inputs for redundant power facilities.

  • Support for 16 D-Wire sensors.

  • Free lifetime firmware upgrades - just like the 832A and 216 (and any other DPS product).

  • Rack or wall mounted.

With its 80 discrete points, sophisticated SNMP implementation, and easy configuration and setup, the NetGuardian 480 is the right combination of power, visibility, and simplicity in a cost-effective single unit. You won't find an easier or better way to integrate your remote site into your SNMP monitoring solution.

So, if you need an RTU that provides the discrete capacity to handle almost any site, without sacrificing control relays to fully manage your remote location, then the NetGuardian 480 is for you.

Take the Visibility of Your Remote Sites to the Next Level

The importance of using the best can't be understated. Using a high-quality RTU gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your network is fully protected. That's why it's important to choose the best technology for your scenario.

There's a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right network monitoring hardware. So, call or email us and we can help you figure out the right fit device for you.

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Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins is a marketing writer, content creator, and documentation specialist at DPS Telecom. She has created over 200 blog articles and videos sharing her years of experience in the remote monitoring industry.

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