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Wi-SUN Alliance Conducts Remote Interoperability Testing for Next-Generation FAN 1.1 Networks Amid World Pandemic

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The consequences of COVID-19 have been enormous, to both individuals and businesses alike.  Over the past year, businesses have been focused on exploring creative ways to keep their employee’s safety at the forefront, while not allowing productivity to suffer. We continue to see employees work from home, and tradeshows and conferences transition to a virtual platform.

For global organizations like Wi-SUN Alliance, these restrictions have seriously limited some of our activities.  While technical development of specifications has continued through conference calls and virtual meetings, face to face events such as interop testing events and plugfests have been impossible.

But now we have overcome this hurdle. That’s right, the Wi-SUN Alliance’s Test and Certification committee is full steam ahead and has successfully held the first of a series of remote testing events for Wi-SUN Field Area Network 1.1 (FAN 1.1).  Despite global travel restrictions this series provides an opportunity for Alliance members to move forward with their product development by testing their next-generation high-speed and robust FAN 1.1 products addressing the demanding technical requirements for applications in last scale IIoT markets.

In the midst of a global health pandemic, these remote events are particularly meaningful from two aspects. First, by creating and enabling a virtual remote testing framework to facilitate implementers from their respective physical locations to conduct interoperability testing. Second, this activity further strengthens the importance of interoperability testing to ensure that FAN 1.1 products meet the criteria necessary for multi-vendor installations.

The evolution of FAN 1.1 provides the required features necessary for the deployment Wi-SUN FAN products by electric, gas and water utilities, not just for metering, but supporting fully integrated smart utility networks and by municipalities to support smart city infrastructure.  Wi-SUN FAN 1.1 delivers higher data rates with lower latency, and support for battery-powered devices for applications like gas and water metering, environmental monitoring, traffic sensing, parking management and weather sensors. These enhancements also extend the range of applications ideally suited to Wi-SUN products, including the integration of smart metering with renewables like solar and wind power, where network stability and grid control is critical.

The test event was hosted by Telecom Engineering Center (TELEC) Japan. TELEC is a Wi-SUN approved test lab currently offering certification test services for Wi-SUN certification programs, including FAN 1.0 certification. This event marked the first of a series for interoperability testing; Wi-SUN Alliance, together with TELEC, has laid out plans to organize similar test events throughout the second quarter of 2021 to enable more testing opportunities for Alliance members.

The Wi-SUN Alliance FAN certification program provides testing and certification for products to ensure multi-vendor interoperability based on open standards for large-scale IoT applications. The FAN 1.0 Certification Program was launched in 2018 and to date has certified more than 40 FAN 1.0 products. To learn more about these products please visit: https://wi-sun.org/certified-products/

The FAN 1.1 Certification Program provides test and certification for products to verify the compliance of FAN 1.1 functionality. Leveraging the results and participant feedback from these events helps ensure the technical profile and test specifications are clear and unambiguous and that the test program provides good test coverage.

The ongoing series of test events provides significant benefits to participating members as well as to the quality of the Alliance certification program. Member companies can ensure that their products comply with the specification and interoperate with competitors’ products, as well as providing ongoing confidence of the readiness of their implementations.  Participation by our member companies helps to deliver competitive, quality products to meet the constantly evolving demands of large-scale IoT applications such as smart utility networks, smart city and M2M applications.