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A modern distributed industrial system, such as a power transmission system, consists of many sites distributed throughout a wide area. Each site contains a number of monitoring and control devices, also known as intelligent electronic devices, which perform various tasks including condition monitoring, control, and protection. However, apart from dedicated links to the control center for control purposes, substations are often connected by networks with relatively low bandwidth, which makes remote access to these devices for control or monitoring relatively difficult. Therefore, we propose the use of mobile agents for remote access to devices. In this paper, the advantages and disadvantages of the use of mobile agents are evaluated by means of a theoretical model and a series of experiments. The results suggest that for networks with high latency mobile agents may provide performance improvements over more conventional client-server systems.