Hesh Kagan: WINA on Wireless

Hesh Kagan, Director of Technology for New Business Development, and Chairman of WINA, the Wireless Industrial Networking Association, gave a detailed overview of wireless technologies for the industrial environment. WINA, now a member of the Automation Federation, has over 700 members now, and is providing major support for SP100 as well as educative seminars and webinars all over North America. Wireless is complicated, wonderful, and is a key enabler for new enterprise applications. Wireless is really another network transport layer. SP100: The IS SP100 commitee will establish standards, recommended practices, technical reports and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment with a focus on the field level. SP100.11a is the working group committee that is drafting the standard for a first release. The real problem is going to be coexistence issues-- this is what the end users appear to care about the most. To deal with interoperability, you can't get away from the concept of a gateway. Gateways aren't popular, but they are going to be necessary. Kagan described the Honeywell-led consortium, and the Emerson-led consortium's proposals. "There's no right or wrong in this case...it's like a Chevy or a Ford..." Currently the 802.15.4 radio, associated with WirelessHART and Emerson is the first rollout, followed by the 802.11 radio associated with Honeywell, and with other radios to follow.