As part of an ongoing effort to assure the usefulness of the ISA100.11a Industrial Wireless Standard, the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) announced recently that it is collaborating with the 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 validation study will analyze performance data and determine if the real world works as simulated. WCI is a non-profit industry consortium that is an organization of the International Society of Automation (ISA, www.isa.org).
This initiative provides a way of validating certain performance dimensions of the ISA100.11a Standard itself during the early stages of adoption by the industrial automation controls community, the WCI said. In addition, the study 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 its intended objectives with satisfactory performance characteristics.
The validation study is expected to provide insights beneficial to suppliers who are launching new products based on the ISA100.11a technology and to operators who are investing in the deployment and management of these emerging technologies.
The general approach is to encourage early adopters to make performance data available to the study effort under appropriate confidentiality protections. The data will be analyzed to determine if the real world works as simulated, so that corrections or improvements can be made, if needed.
Jay Werb, WCI’s Technical Director, commented, “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,” said Herman Story of Shell Global Solutions. “However, we still need the validation study to validate performance in a scaled-up real world environment.”
International Society of Automation