This article describes the various device roles in an ISA 100.11a wireless industrial network.
ISA 100.11a specifies a standard for wireless industrial networks. The standard specifies how communication between devices is established and how the wireless infrastructure can be used to run industrial control applications.
To meet the needs of industrial wireless users and operators, the ISA-100.11a standard provides robustness in the presence of interference found in harsh industrial environments and with legacy non-ISA-100 compliant wireless systems.
The ISA 100.11a standard specifies different functional roles for the various operations needed to run and manage a wireless industrial network. Each role is a high level description of functionality that need to be implemented on a device. The various devices that are part of an industrial network have one or more of the following roles:
- Input / Output device: A device that provides or utilizes control data. The sole purpose of this device is to run control applications to gather and deliver control data.
- Router: A device that can route messages at the link layer and the network layer defined by the ISA 100.11a standard. Routers advertise their presence at the link layer. The advertisements include information about how to establish link layer association with the router. Once associated, the device can communicate with the router at application layer and can deliver packets to be forwarded at the link layer or at the network layer.
- Provisioning: A device that can authenticate other devices and provision them with information needed to join a data link. A provisioning device uses the service of the security manager to authenticate other devices.
- Backbone router: A device that can route ISA 100.11a packets over a traditional network infrastructure (e.g. IPv4/IPv6).
- Gateway: A device that has access to control/sensing devices in the ISA 100.11a industrial network and which is capable of translation between application protocols in the industrial network and other application protocols in the legacy plant network.
- System manager: A device that has the task of managing configuration information on devices that participate in an ISA100.11a network. This includes assisting devices during link layer association and the establishment of application layer sessions and contracts.
- Security manager: Works in conjunction with the system manager and external security systems to provide security related functionality such as authentication of devices and management of keying materials.
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