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Industrial Communications Handbook

By Mick Crabtree

Chapter 6: DNP3



DNP3 (Distributed Network Protocol Version 3) is an open, intelligent, robust and efficient modern Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) protocol designed to optimise the transmission of data acquisition information and control commands.

DNP offers flexibility, robustness and functionality that go far beyond conventional communication protocols. Because DNP3 is an object-based application layer protocol, it has the flexibility to support multiple operating modes such as poll-response, polled report -by-exception, unsolicited responses, and peer-to-peer. Amongst its features are:


  • Addressing of over 65 000 devices on a single link
  • Open protocol
  • Classification of field data
  • Time-stamped data
  • Support for time synchronisation
  • Secure authentication
  • Diagnostic information for each I/O point