Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wireless certification service

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced the formal launch of ISA-100.11a certification services. With official testing of devices completed in late June 2010, participating suppliers can now offer ISA-100.11a-certified products.

ISA-100.11a certification testing is being conducted for the WCI by National Technical Systems, Inc. (NTS), an independent third-party engineering, testing and certification company which has bases in the US, Europe and the Far East.

Notable among suppliers in this initial launch is Nivis LLC, earning certification for their ISA-100.11a communication protocol stack. Nivis, a leader in secure, open standard wireless sensing and control networks, is the first to have an ISA-100.11a-certified protocol stack—enabling integration of ISA-100.11a wireless communication technology into real-world industrial plant applications.

“This is a significant milestone for WCI and the ISA100 Standard. WCI conformance testing services provide a vital link between the standards development process and implementation of the resulting standard in the marketplace. Conformance testing provides assurances to end users that registered ISA-100.11a devices will interoperate and adhere to their requirements,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of WCI.

“We ran rigorous tests on devices submitted in June using the WCI test kits and are pleased with the results, especially having had several of the first devices meet the ISA-100.11a requirements” said Osman Sakr, CTO of National Technical Systems. “We look forward to testing additional products as they become available.”

Manufacturers are expected to make their own product announcements in the coming weeks. These will be in addition to the recent announcements from Honeywell (see Industry Perspectives from Honeywell User Group {automation.com}) and Yokogawa (More on Wireless {Read-out}) highlighting ISA-100.11a-compliant products at their respective user conferences.

“It is and has always been our mission to support our members with their adoption and implementation of the ISA-100.11a wireless standard,” continued Ristaino. “As new products pass certification, we look forward to seeing the first commercial installations of industrial wireless systems that demonstrate the scalability, reliability, and performance benefits of the ISA-100.11a standard.”

With a planned maintenance review underway, the ISA-100.11a standard is expected to be submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for approval in early 2011. Certified products already deployed can maintain compliance with a simple, over-the-air firmware upgrade provided by the vendors—a clear example of one of the future-proof benefits of the standard.

The ISA-100.11a industrial wireless networking standard is the first in the ISA100 family of standards. This wireless mesh network standard protocol helps supplier companies build interoperable wireless automation control products. As a result, manufacturing sites are able to create, modify, optimize, and scale a wireless network quickly, cost-effectively, and seamlessly.

Planned additions to the ISA100 family of standards include support for backhaul functionality, factory automation, and other key-use cases. See ISA100 website for details on the approved standard, the ISA100 roadmap, and use-case presentations.

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