ISA100.11a: the 4-20 mA standard for the 21st Century

ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, with support from General Electric, Honeywell, and Nivis, demonstrated prototype ISA100.11a wireless standard-based products at the 2008 International Industrial Wireless Conference in Chongqing, China. The vision, say some involved, is a single, efficient, wireless network.

By Control Engineering Staff May 1, 2008

ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, with support from General Electric, Honeywell, and Nivis, demonstrated prototype ISA100.11a wireless standard-based products at the 2008 International Industrial Wireless Conference in Chongqing, China. The vision, say some involved, is a single, efficient, wireless network.

The demonstration contained several field devices from each of the supporting vendors. The ISA100 technologies ran on multiple radio platforms communicating through backhaul routers to a single host system. Field devices deployed mesh routing and non-routing technologies, proving that each can operate in a single wireless network.

Field device data viewed in the demonstration included traditional 4-20 mA wiring and device diagnostics and configuration data such as existing digital fieldbuses. The information was communicated to a host system over an Ethernet link from a gateway using the Modbus protocol.

“The beauty of the ISA100 standard is that the host could have been any legacy system in a plant using any communication protocol like HART, Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus, DeviceNet, etc., and the field devices could have done the same thing,” said David Kaufman of Honeywell. “This capability is the reason the ISA100.11a standard will be the next ‘4-20 mA standard’ for the 21st century. It combines the advantages of the ‘single variable 4-20 mA world’ with the advantages of the ‘multi-variable digital bus world’ into a single, efficient, wireless network.”

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