This is an intriguing opportunity. The Wireless Industrial Networking Association (WINA) has a series of Webcasts in process (I moderated one a few months ago). The next one carries the title “Wireless Networking Technologies–Co-Existence and Compatibility: What You Need to Know About WiFi and ISA/Hart.” It’s October 30 at 1 EDT. Presenters are Steve Toteda, president of WINA as well as a vice president of Dust Networks–the technology provider behind WirelessHart, and Stephen Lambright, vice president of Apprion. WINA charges $40 to register for the Webcast, but I can certainly imagine the Q&A session being lively. I’ll be in China where it will be the middle of the night–probably won’t make it live.

Here’s some scoop from the press release: 

Wireless networking technologies are gaining rapid acceptance in the industrial automation market because of the ability to lower costs, use energy and materials more efficiently, improve process safety, and guarantee compliance. Example applications include monitoring equipment health, giving workers easy access to information from anywhere in the plant.

But concerns abound as to the ability for all these new wireless solutions to peacefully co-exist with one another, and for end users to feel confident that the RF technologies employed are compatible. These concerns include the potential for radio frequency (RF) interference between various wireless technologies – such as radios using the IEEE 802.11b/g and IEEE 802.15.4 protocols – and the possibility that the reliability of essential communications will be adversely affected.

Until recently, research on this issue has focused on static channel operation of both radio types. Information has not been available on real-world coexistence of devices using more recent advancements such as channel hopping and mesh network technology.

This webinar will explore standards-based wireless architectures and the advancements made to provide high levels of communication reliability at both the field-network and plant-network levels. The results of extensive testing of multiple applications within these architectures have shown that these technologies can and do coexist very well even under the most difficult circumstances. Live Q&A period.

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