December 2008

Wireless progress at ISA EXPO 2008

More than 100 ISA100 members and guests participated in the Wireless Systems for Automation standards meetings at ISA EXPO 2008 in October.

The ISA100 committee displayed four core themes at its EXPO booth: concepts regarding ensured coexistence, the draft ISA100.11a standard, the ISA100 family of standards, and featured subcommittees or family members. Featured subcommittees in the display included ISA100.12 - WirelessHART Convergence, ISA100.14 - Trustworthy Wireless, ISA100.15 - Backhaul Networks, and ISA100.21 - People and Asset Tracking.

The ISA100.12 subcommittee on WirelessHART convergence reviewed user requirements and the applicability of dual-mode gateway, backhaul concepts, and other technologies.

The ISA100.21 subcommittee's technical display within the ISA100 booth demonstrated co-resident 802.11-based and "conventional" RFID asset tracking systems operating in the same RF footprint as a number of pre-release ISA100.11a field devices. Technical presentations gave visitors a taste of wireless asset tracking solutions in the EXPO X-POD, where they could walk across the aisle to see systems operating.

The ISA100 Coexistence subcommittee, WG5, discussed measurements showing over 100 active Wi-Fi access points (APs) all co-resident while pre-release ISA100.11a field transmitters and ISA100.21 asset tracking systems were operating. "From an electromagnetic interference (EMI) perspective, the EXPO floor represented an unnatural RF congestion environment-one not anticipated in most, if not all, industrial settings," said Dr. Peter Fuhr of Apprion, co-chair of WG21. "To see field instruments operating in this setting, with supporting spectrum analyzer measurements, allowed end users to see fruits of the labor regarding technical aspects of co-channel interference ISA100 work groups are addressing."

The ISA100.14 subcommittee, Trustworthy Wireless, discussed their progress on a document describing trustworthiness in industrial wireless automation. The ISA100.15 Backhaul Networks working group reviewed use cases to derive user requirements for backhaul networks.

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