At a recent ISA-SP100.11a working group meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, 60 attendees unanimously approved the scope and systems architecture of Release 1 of the draft standard. The standard focuses on wireless manufacturing and control systems for the process industry, including factory sites.

Specifically, Release 1 is intended to provide technology to address Class 1 (non-critical) to Class 5 applications, such as monitoring. The standard will assure multi-vendor device interoperability, and will include only 2.4 GHz 802.15.4-2006 radios. The work of the committee will adhere to a comprehensive coexistence strategy, and will use channel hopping to support co-existence and increase reliability. The standard will use a single application layer, providing both native and tunneling protocol capability for broad usability, and provide simple, flexible, and scaleable security addressing major industrial threats. The standard will also offer field device meshing and star capability.

The system architecture will include provisions to accommodate alternate PHY’s in future releases, support factory automation applications, support low latency applications, and will not preclude low cost implementations over the life cycle of the intended deployments.

A draft of the standard will be complete by October 2007, according to ISA (www.isa.org).

During the meeting in Germany, the working group also agreed that the second release will include critical Class 1 to 5 applications in addition to monitoring; additional gateway functionality as needed; additional network manager functionality as needed; and dual or alternate PHYs such as narrow band frequency hopping, sub-GHz, licensed bands, high speed, 5 GHz, etc.