Itron starts certifying Wi-SUN devices for smart cities, utilities, factories
Liberty Lake IoT provider Itron has started to certify devices under the Wi-SUN Field Area Network (FAN) 1.0 programme. It follows fellow Wi-SUN leader Cisco to have its products passed by the Wi-SUN Alliance.
Itron said its Bridge 5-WS product was the first to gain certification. The Bridge 5-WS remains something of a mystery product in its portfolio – there is no record on the company’s website, and its press statement added little colour.
Itron only said the unit “integrates” a “fifth-generation” network interface card (NIC), which works variously with electricity, gas, and water meters to support remote reads and instant alerts. Itron said the new Wi-SUN certification “indicates the Itron Network platform” is capable of supporting the Wi-SUN FAN 1.0 specification.
The company’s latest Gen5 network platform was introduced by Silver Spring Networks back in 2015, prior to its acquisition by Itron. The Gen5 NIC offers improvements in terms of speed, latency, range, distributed intelligence, power optimisation, and size, said Silver Spring Networks at the time.
Wi-SUN has been quietly succeeding in the smart utilities and smart cities markets as an alternative for low-power wide-area (LPWA) networking like LoRa and Sigfox.
The open ‘wireless smart utility network’ (Wi-SUN) mesh protocol is based on the IEEE 802.15.4g SUN standard, approved in March 2012. Its focus from the start has been to untangle the complex web of communications technologies that have grown up within smart grids, invariably around proprietary and systems and legacy equipment.
The Wi-SUN Alliance includes the likes of Cisco and Itron as ‘promoter’ members. Cisco started certifying a number of its industrial routers for smart grids, smart cities, and smart manufacturing under the alliance’s field area networks (FAN) certification programme.
The FAN 1.0 standard enables different industrial devices to interconnect onto common networks, which it promotes as “secure” and “industrial-grade”.
Sharelynn Moore, senior vice president of networked solutions at Itron, commented: “Itron along with other key promoter members of the Wi-SUN Alliance including our long-time strategic partner Cisco have demonstrated our commitment to the development and evolution of this standard technology to create a truly interoperable open network ecosystem. We are pleased to be among the first to achieve this initial certification.”
Phil Beecher, president and chief executive of the Wi-SUN Alliance, said: “Certification ensures interoperability, which is key to the growth of IoT innovation. We are pleased to officially certify this product.”