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Collaborative wireless initiative

05 November 2008

The Fieldbus Foundation and ISA have agreed to facilitate the implementation of wireless backhaul transport networks. This technology initiative is based on shared interests in serving the needs of end users and suppliers of wireless systems in industrial automation.

Representatives of both organisations discussed the wireless project at ISA Expo 2008 in Houston, Texas, a leading international exposition focused on the technology and techniques of automation and control.
At an ISA100 meeting in June, ISA100 leaders established a new working group, ISA100.15—Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group—to develop and maintain a standard to address one or more dedicated or shared wireless backhaul(s) to support technologies running multiple applications. The first of these backbones will be the Fieldbus Foundation’s High Speed Ethernet (HSE) implementation.

To expedite the work, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA have entered into a cross-licensing agreement allowing the two organisations to collaborate on wireless networks. To enable the ISA100.15 working group to develop the wireless backhaul standard, it will be necessary to use extracts of Fieldbus Foundation specifications as well as parts of other ISA standards in development.

Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation director of technology development and co-chair of the ISA100.15 working group noted, “The Fieldbus Foundation recognises the opportunities that are emerging with wireless applications and believes that effectively interfacing with ISA100 systems will serve as a basis for extending the value and applicability of Foundation technology in industry.”

“I am pleased to be playing a critical role in helping ISA100 fulfill its mission, and fostering collaboration between ISA100 and the Fieldbus Foundation,” said Penny Chen, principal systems architect with Yokogawa and co-chair of the working group.

Wireless technology has improved in performance and ease-of-use, and a variety of wireless technologies are now being deployed for different applications in mixed environments. These developments bring the need for a wireless backhaul transport network to facilitate interoperability, end-to-end security, and end-to-end quality of service. End users have reported a strong need for this because multiple wireless technologies have been deployed in the same environment for various applications, all needing transport over the common shared wireless media backhaul.

As part of the wireless backhaul network initiative, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA will develop a standard to interface between different technologies suitable for backhaul networking; address wireless co-existence (frequency sharing) related to the backhaul networks; define prioritisation of multiple applications and ensure quality of service; support multiple application protocol translators; and address security issues on backhaul networks. ISA will publish the technical documents as a standard within the ISA100 family of standards, and the standard will be jointly owned by the two organisations and used accordingly in the marketplace.

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