Industrial wireless standard achieves American approval

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced the approval of ISA-100.11a-2011, “Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications,” as an American National Standard. This approval confirms that the open consensus standards development procedures required by ANSI, which call for participation not only of suppliers but of all key interest categories, were followed in developing the standard.


Most notably, ISA’s ANSI-accredited standards procedures require direct participation and voting by experts from end-user companies, ensuring that their views and requirements are considered in the development process. ANSI/ISA-100.11a-2011 received 92% approval from voting members on the ISA100 Committee who represent end-user companies where wireless systems will be deployed. The ISA100 Co-Chairs, Wayne Manges of Oak Ridge National Laboratory/US Department of Energy, and Herman Storey, a consultant with 42 years as an end user in the refining and petrochemical industry, have both stated that this overwhelming approval by end-users sends a strong and clear message to industry. With more than 600 members from across the globe, ISA100 brings together wireless experts, who represent diverse industrial and technical interests, in an open forum

Approval as an American National Standard follows the unanimous approval of the standard in September as a Publically Available Specification (PAS) by IEC SC65C, Industrial Networks. The PAS approval marked the first step in the progression of ANSI/ISA-100.11a-2011 through the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission, process. A two-day meeting earlier this month of IEC SC65B Working Group 16, Wireless Industrial Networks, resulted in an initial working schedule. (See also our article, Walt, wireless and the curates egg! 3rd October 2011).

This collaboration with the IEC is the latest in a long line of ISA standards that have served as the originating sources of widely used IEC standards, including:

IEC 61511 series: Process Safety (ISA84)
IEC 61512 series: Batch Control (ISA88)
IEC 62264 series: Enterprise Control-System Integration (ISA95)
IEC 62443 series: Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security (ISA99)

ANSI/ISA-100.11a-2011 was developed to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for noncritical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open loop control and closed loop control applications. The standard defines the protocol suite, system management, and gateway and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable and moving devices that support very limited power consumption requirements. The application focus is to address the performance needs of applications, such as monitoring and process control, where latencies on the order of 100 ms can be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.

One Response to Industrial wireless standard achieves American approval

  1. Dick Caro says:

    Dick CaroEoin, thanks for publishing this. The Chairman of IEC65C told me that the wireless working group was waiting for the submission of ISA100.11a to begin their work. The normal process in IEC is for a new national standard to be submitted as a PAS. The stated purpose of the PAS is to allow early implementation to find errors and to suggest improvements. The IEC working group then works on it using these submissions to prepare the FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) which is then balloted. In this case, 65C has 3 documents on which to work: WirelessHART, ISA100.11a, and WIA-PA (China.) The reason that ISA100.11a was not submitted through ANSI was that Walt and others had filed an objection to the ISA process, and those objection needed to be resolved before ANSI would approve it. Submission via Canada allowed the SC65C working group to begin its work several months earlier.

    History: WirelessHART was submitted to IEC as a PAS in July 2008, by the Swiss National Committee, and a project was started to prepare the FDIS. The actual work for the FDIS for WirelessHART was not done in an IEC working group, but privately. It took more than a year to prepare the FDIS 62591 which was balloted and passed by SC65C in March 2010. The FDIS reflected many changes made during the early implementations of WirelessHART, and corresponded to HART 7.1.

    ISA100.11a was originally passed by the committee and could have been released to IEC as a PAS in July 2008, but Walt and others filed an appeal with ANSI over the ISA process. Rather than resolving the appeal, ISA devoted its time to prepare a corrected version of the standard using implementation experience and earlier unresolved comments to prepare a new version which was approved by the committee in February 2011. This was the version submitted for PAS.

    The facts speak for themselves.

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