Will wireless devices interoperate? ISA, NIST want you to know

Do real-world applications differ significantly from the simulation or your assumptions based on product specifications? Has something wireless supposed to interoperate but was not interoperable when applied? Those working on the ISA wireless standard would like to avoid such scenarios. Here's how. See graphic.
By Control Engineering Staff November 18, 2008

Research Triangle Park, NC – Do real-world applications differ significantly from the simulation or your assumptions based on product specifications? Has something that was supposed to interoperate not been interoperable when applied? Those working on the ISA wireless standard would like to avoid such scenarios. Here’s how. 
ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) is collaborating with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on a Validation Study to independently perform simulations of network performance characteristics using data from early adopters of the standard. The study will analyze performance data and determine if the real world works as simulated. For related discussions on this wireless interoperability, see Commentary: What makes a system open ?
This initiative provides a way of validating certain performance dimensions of the ISA100.11a Standard during early stages of adoption by the industrial automation controls community. It also supports one of the key goals of the WCI: to provide field tested feedback to the ISA100 Standards Committee for ensuring that the standard meets intended objectives with satisfactory performance characteristics. The study should provide insights helpful to suppliers launching new products based on the ISA100.11a technology and to operators investing in the deployment and management of these technologies. The approach is to encourage early adopters to make performance data available to the study effort under confidentiality protections. Data will be analyzed to determine if the real world works as simulated. If not, those involved will be interested in determining why and seek solutions to close the gap and improve the standard.
According to Jay Werb, WCI technical director, “WCI can test products and prove that they conform to the ISA100.11a Industrial Standard, but sooner rather than later, someone needs to prove that the standard actually works on a realistic scale.”
“We are currently planning a rigorous user-site beta test battery that is primarily aimed at validating the interoperability of ISA100.11a technologies in a heterogeneous vendor environment,” says Herman Story of Shell Global Solutions. “However, we still need the Validation Study to validate performance in a scaled-up real world environment.”
Companies are encouraged to participate; interested parties should contact Andre Ristaino, ASCI managing director for details.

ISA offers compliance tests for wireless
ISA compliance test specification compliance development and execution, according to www.isa.org/asci/ISA100-Wireless-Compliance-Institute-Prospectus.pdf

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