March 2008

Wireless compliance calling all companies

Companies interested in becoming members of the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute should join now if they want to help define the model for how products and systems will become compliant and contribute to test specifications and wireless test kits, said Automation Standards Compliance Institute Managing Director Andre Ristaino. The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute is now open to all interested parties. Current sponsors of the Institute include Airsprite, Honeywell, Invensys, NIVIS, Shell, Shenyang Institute of Automation, and Yokogawa. "Our supplier members can ensure that their products or systems are going to be compliant the first time they're tested, and users will ensure that their specific needs are met for assured out-of-the-box interoperability in their plants," Ristaino said.

Industry leaders formed the Institute to establish specifications for testing and certifying wireless products and systems for the ISA100 family of wireless standards. The goal is to decrease the time, costs, and risks of developing and deploying standards-based, industrial wireless devices and systems. They will do this by establishing a collaborative, industry-based program among users, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

The Institute will independently test and certify wireless devices and systems for the ISA100 standards and provide education and technical support to users and suppliers in the design, certification, deployment, and management of wireless devices and systems that use the ISA100 family of standards. Certifying wireless devices and systems meet a common set of specifications for assured interoperability will help accelerate the market adoption of the ISA100 standard.

Technical specialists are now developing a document that will specify test cases and test points for the ISA100.11a standard. The ISA100.11a standard will provide an interoperable environment for wireless devices, and the Institute's test specification will assess their performance. "The development work that the standard committee is working on will feed the compliance work, and the work that the Institute is doing will help our working groups to better focus on the standard," said ISA100 co-chair Wayne Manges of ORNL. "As each draft of ISA100.11a is released, the Institute's compliance engineers will provide feedback to improve the overall technology in the standard as well as make sure that we're developing a very testable standard." 

The first full draft of the test specification will be complete in early April 2008, in parallel with the release of the first full draft of the ISA100.11a standard for working group ballot. The second test specification draft will be released in early June, after edits based on the ISA100.11a working group ballot responses.