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First ISA Industrial Wireless Standard Approved

The ISA100.11a standard will now be submitted for ANSI and IEC approval.

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It’s official. Some four-and-one-half years after forming a committee to develop a wireless standard for use in the industrial environment, the International Society of Automation (ISA, announced on Sept 9 that the initial standard produced by the committee has received formal approval.

The ISA Standards & Practices Board (S&P) has voted to approve the ISA100.11a wireless standard “Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications,” thereby making it an official ISA standard, the Society said in a press release. The approval of this major new industry standard by the ISA S&P Board certifies that ISA’s accredited procedures have been followed in the development of the standard, the ISA said.

The ISA100.11a standard received final approval by the ISA100 committee in April of this year with 81 percent of the voting members approving, before being passed along to the ISA S&P Board. The approval represents the first fruit of the committee, which was formed initially by the ISA in February, 2005 (

With the ISA S&P Board approval, the ISA100.11a standard will now be submitted to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for approval as an ANSI standard, and will be submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for consideration as an IEC standard.

Reaching consensus

“The ISA100.11a standard was developed by a committee consisting of over 600 end-users and equipment manufacturers from around the world, and represents a truly consensus standard created in an open, unbiased forum by a global team of industry experts,” said Wayne Manges, ISA100 co-chair, who is a program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn. The ISA100 committee was established by ISA to address wireless manufacturing and control systems in areas including:
•    the environment in which the wireless technology is deployed
•    technology and life cycle for wireless equipment and systems
•    the application of wireless technology.

“The committee has been very active in pursuing its charter and I am delighted that this initial standard has been issued,” said Manges.

The ISA100.11a standard is intended to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open-loop control, and closed-loop control applications. The standard defines the protocol suite, system management, gateway, and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable, and moving devices supporting very limited power consumption requirements. The application focus addresses the performance needs of applications such as monitoring and process control in which latencies on the order of 100 milliseconds (ms) can be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.

Built tough

“To meet the needs of industrial wireless users and operators, the ISA100.11a standard provides robustness in the presence of interference found in harsh industrial environments, and with legacy non-ISA100 compliant wireless systems,” said ISA100 co-chair Pat Schweitzer, of ExxonMobil. The standard addresses coexistence with other wireless devices anticipated in the industrial workspace, such as cell phones and devices based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer’s IEEE 802.11x, IEEE 802.15x, IEEE 802.16x, and other relevant standards. Further, the standard allows for interoperability of ISA100 devices, the ISA said. The standard is available at

International Society of Automation

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