Wireless working groups formed

05/23/2006


Two new working groups emerged from a recent meeting of the ISA Wireless Systems for Automation standards committee, known as ISA-SP100. Both working groups will coordinate their activities to enable SP100 to provide a complete and integrated set of standards for industrial wireless applications.

SP100.14 will define wireless connectivity standards optimized for the unique performance and cost needs of a wide range of industrial monitoring, logging and alerting applications. SP100.11 will define wireless connectivity standards that address a wide range of applications optimized for, but not restricted to, the unique performance needs of control applications, ranging from closed-loop regulatory control through open-loop manual control.

The ISA-SP100 committee is a collaboration of end users and technology suppliers working to establish standards, recommended practices, technical reports and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment with a focus on the field level.

"The ISA-SP100 standard will allow compliant devices that are relatively low complexity, reasonable cost and low power consumption to support long battery life where needed,” said Committee co-chair Richard Sanders of ExxonMobil. “The communication data rate(s) must be sufficient to satisfy the range of needs typically associated with these classes."

The ISA-SP100 standard must cost-effectively address the wide ranging wireless needs in the industrial environment that includes sensors, actuators and other automation devices, as well as wireless workers, first responders and wireless infrastructure networks. Those needs include coexistence, robustness to interference, interoperability with wired plant infrastructure networks, etc.

The newly created SP100 working groups will define the OSI layer, security and management specifications. It will also include the specifications for wireless workers and wireless first responders as well as wireless automation networks operating within an automation and control environment.

"Since the industrial environment may include high-power interference sources, the standard will also address the network's robustness. The working groups will address coexistence with other wireless devices anticipated in the industrial work space, such as 802.11x, 802.15x, 802.16x, cell phones, RFID, SP100.14, Wireless-HART, etc.," said SP100.11 Working Group Chair Pat Kinney of Kinney Consulting LLC.

"These working groups also intend to address appropriate levels of inter-operability or inter-working with other technologies and protocols in the industrial work space," said committee co-chair Wayne Manges of Oak Ridge National Lab.

"Industrial users need a family of wireless technologies they can trust, suppliers need to know how to build these technologies and system integrators need to know where and how to apply them — ISA-SP100 will meet the needs of each of these groups," said ISA-SP100.14 Working Group Chair Daniel Sexton of General Electric Global Research.

"Compliance with the ISA-SP100 guidance will improve wireless manufacturing and control system deployment as well as identify vulnerabilities. These working groups are an important part of our work to develop this standard," Sanders said.

“ProSoft Technology supports SP 100 Committee efforts and looks forward to a standard to support in our products,” said Kevin Zamzow, Global Sales Manager at ProSoft Technology.

The working groups plan to issue a request for proposals on topics including architecture, radio channel model, network coexistence strategy, RF interference strategy, and security sometime this summer.

The ISA-SP100 committee is actively seeking volunteers to help create the new standard. Interested participants should contact Lois Ferson at lferson@isa.org for further information. The next meeting of the ISA-SP100 committee will be held concurrently with SENSORS Expo June 6%%MDASSML%%8 at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.





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