Because DNP3 is based on the IEC 870-5 requirements, DNP3 is suitable for application in the entire SCADA environment. This includes RTU to IED communications, master to remote communications, and even peer-to-peer instances and network applications.

Being an object-based application layer protocol, DNP3 has the flexibility to support multiple operating modes such as poll-response, polled report-by-exception, unsolicited responses and peer-to-peer. It permits multiple masters and encourages distributed intelligence.

Users can expect many benefits from using DNP3. In the short term:

  • Interoperability between multi-vendor devices
  • Fewer protocols to support in the field
  • Reduced software costs
  • No protocol translators needed
  • Shorter delivery schedules
  • Less testing, maintenance and training
  • Improved documentation
  • Independent conformance testing
  • Support by independent users group and third-party sources (e.g. test sets, source code)


In the long term, further benefits can be derived from using DNP3, including:

  • Easy system expansion
  • Long product life
  • More value-added products from vendors
  • Faster adoption of new technology
  • Major operations savings