On May 31, 2022, NIST's Rick Candell gave the keynote address to IEEE's workshop on Performance Assessment of Industrial Wireless Systems. The workshop was organized and facilitated by NIST's Kang Lee.
Candell pointed out that wireless systems are key to the next generation of operational systems in factories, warehouses, retail spaces, automated buildings, etc. Relative to wired systems, wireless networks are easier and cheaper to install and maintain, have a simpler infrastructure, and enable greater system mobility. Wireless networks also could enable more capabilities than they did in the early 2000s, which were primarily sensing. Conceivably, they could control a multitude of systems, collect more data than previously, and thus support greater data analytics.
Yet, wireless systems face several challenges that must be addressed, noted Candell. Many are aware of its limitations in terms of bandwidth, latency, range, and power supply for portability. A major challenge to wireless systems, though, is what Candell calls the "non-pristine radio environment." It includes channel aggressors such as interference from other networks and/or microwave systems, metal clutter reflecting signals, blockages, and more. Candell also pointed out that present standards do not adequately take into account the impacts of such "channel aggressors" on wireless performance.
Candell, thus, proposed the development of the IEEE P1451.5p standard including metrics for these channel aggressors in assessing wireless performance. He also recommended developing profiles – determining wireless performance requirements – for specific manufacturing industries, such as aerospace, automotive, food processing, petrochemical, and others. These metrics and profiles would be based on use cases, collected data, and modeling.