International Society of Automation News Release
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New edition of ISA book on wireless networks for industrial automation covers the latest advances for wireless process control networks

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA (14 November 2013)  The International Society of Automation (ISA) announces that it has published a fourth edition of its highly popular book on wireless networks for industrial automation, updated with an extensive analysis of today's newest wireless technologies.

Wireless Networks for Industrial Automation, Fourth Edition by Dick Caro, ISA Life Fellow and industrial automation consultant at CMC Associates, provides a clear, unbiased view of the emerging wireless communications market, and closely examines the latest advances in wireless technologies for process control, such as ISA100 Wireless (ANSI/ISA-100.11a), WirelessHART, WIA-PA and WiFi, including IEEE 802.11n and 802.11ac.

"A lot has changed in the marketplace since the third edition of my book was published," notes Caro, a widely recognized expert in industrial networking and current chair of two ISA100 Wireless standards subcommittees. "At that time, ISA100 Wireless was just being developed and WirelessHART had just been announced. This new edition covers their transition to well-established, proven standards, and provides guidance to those seeking a comparison of the two."

Since both ISA100 Wireless and WirelessHART have well-documented field experience and installation success, Caro says that both can be utilized without trepidation of any kind.

"Today, both are absolutely reliable, secure and simple to install, and since their batteries seem to last forever, fears of battery replacement have disappeared," he asserts. "At the same time, they both have differences."

ISA100 Wireless, he explains, is particularly valuable to "those forward-thinking process control users who can visualize a control system architecture that includes plant-wide wireless control networks. WirelessHART has been important to some users who have urgent needs for measurements or status detection in areas that have been too costly or unable to connect wired instruments or sensors."

WIA-PA, Caro indicates, was developed at a Chinese university and it is not known if there are any commercial applications within China, and, to date, none have been offered for export.

He says that IEEE 802.11, on the other hand, has been in active development for many years, and is widely installed in many manufacturing locations where wired or fiber optic Ethernet may have been used.

"Wireless offers installed cost advantages," Caro points out. "When the third edition of my book was released, IEEE 802.11n had not yet been ratified, but vendors were already selling product. Now, IEEE 802.11n is the Wi-Fi market leader with many installations of the MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) form with dual frequencies to provide spatial diversity. Today, IEEE 802.11ac is nearing ratification and suppliers are already selling product. As improvements to IEEE 802.11 are made, the speed increases to the point that IEEE 802.11ac will achieve speed parity with wired gigabit Ethernet."

Caro says some vendors of wireless process control systems, instruments and network devices tend to "over market" their products, making claims for features that are not incorporated or sometimes not even planned for the future.

"I hope that this updated edition can help users make intelligent decisions that will enable them to plan future process control networks and control system architectures in which wireless is certain to play a major role," he concludes.

For more information or to purchase a copy of this valuable resource, visit

More about Dick Caro

As CEO of CMC Associates, Caro develops market and product strategy for industrial automation companies. He is a highly renowned and experienced expert in automation systems design, time-critical data networks, control systems and complex software systems.

In addition to his consultancy work, Caro writes books and conducts training classes in the areas of industrial networking.

During his career, he has served in numerous executive-level positions at various leading companies, including ARC Advisory Group, Arthur D. Little, and The Foxboro Company (now part of Invensys).

He was elected into the Control Magazine Hall of Fame in 2005; elected Life Fellow of ISA in 2001; and elected Fellow of the Industrial Computing Society in 1996. In 2005, he gained Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) certification.

He was the founder and president of the Florida Gold Coast Chapter of ISA, and he received the ISA Standards Award in 1981, 1997 and 2000.

About ISA

Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation ( 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, North Carolina, ISA develops standards, certifies industry professionals, provides education and training, publishes books and technical articles, and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (