Work Begins on New Wireless Industrial Connectivity Standards

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- At its recent committee meeting, ISA's Wireless Systems for Automation standards committee (ISA-SP100) agreed to form two new standards working groups, SP100.14 and SP100.11.

The SP100.14 working group will define wireless connectivity standards optimized for the unique performance and cost needs of a wide range of industrial monitoring, logging, and alerting applications. The SP100.11 work group will define wireless connectivity standards addressing a wide range of applications optimized but not restricted to the unique performance needs of control applications ranging from closed loop regulatory control through open loop manual control. Both work groups will coordinate their activities to enable SP100 to provide a complete and integrated set of standards for industrial wireless applications.

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. The communication data rate(s) must be sufficient to satisfy the range of needs typically associated with these classes," explained Committee co-chair Richard Sanders of ExxonMobil.

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, and interoperability with wired plant infrastructure networks.

The newly created SP100 working groups will define the OSI layer specifications (e.g. PHY and DLL), security specifications, and management specification (including network and device configuration) and 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.," stated SP100.11 Working Group Chair Pat Kinney of Kinney Consulting LLC.

"These working groups also intend to address appropriate levels of interoperability or interworking 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," stated 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," said Sanders.

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 in the creation of this exciting new standard. Interested participants should contact Lois Ferson at [email protected] for further information. The next meeting of the ISA-SP100 committee will be held concurrently with Sensors Expo from 6-8 June at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

About ISA
Founded in 1945, ISA is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in the Western Hemisphere.