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Test protocols aid ISO 18000-7 compliance certification

Posted: 23 Jul 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:433MHz  RFID  Dash7 certification 

Dash7 Certification Suite provides test protocols to ensure conformance and interoperability of Dash7 products to promote the development of active 433MHz RFID solutions.

The Alliance is offering a free set of test methods to guide developers of ISO 18000-7-compliant technology. The Dash7 Certification Suite is a set of test protocols that members could employ to ensure certification, says Ted Osinski, director of RFID programs, MET Laboratories. These protocols consist of conformance testing, as well as interoperability, based on the needs of the U.S. military, a major user of active 433MHz RFID technology complying with ISO 18000-7. In relation to this, National Instruments plans to release a set of test tools in September that RFID technology vendors will be able to purchase in order to follow the test methods. "By using the same test tools we'll be using [at Met Labs] and the same test protocol," Osinki noted, technology vendors will have "a very high chance of passing certification."

Osinki added that Met Labs intends to open the first of many global testing centres, either in China or Korea to make it easier for Asia companies to have their ISO 18000-7 products certified.

Initiated by Savi Technology, the Dash7 Alliance has approximately 50 member organisations, including RFID vendors, end users and government agencies. The group created a forum in January of this year to certify products for interoperability with the 18000-7 (Dash7) standard, based on Savi's IP, says Patrick Burns, the organisation's president. At its Baltimore location, Met Labs provides the certification testing that RFID developers must complete to gain Dash7 certification. Two forms of testing are performed at the labs: conformance testing for tags and readers based on the ISO 18047-7 standard (which defines test methods for determining the conformance to 18000-7), and interoperability testing using methods of the U.S. Department of Defence.

In March 2010, the Dash7 Alliance conducted a plugfest. Interoperability of devices were tested by actually plugging them into a running network to detect whether tags and readers could exchange unique identifiers, as well as sensor and GPS data. It was found that although many firms were testing their own products, their testing methods were insufficient. Thus, they failed to meet Dash7's certification requirements. Other shortcomings in existing testing methods included the fact that they were available only for hardware testing, and not for software specifications for handling reader data or middleware. Since March, the Dash7 Alliance has been developing a set of test protocols that members could employ to ensure certification, which are now available for free.

Burns noted that offering the test tools as a result of the March PlugFest results "is a logical next step" in the development of ISO 18000-7 RFID technology for the DOD and commercial end users. By providing the test methods along with certification, he adds, the Dash7 Alliance is offering "a more holistic approach" rather than the previous self-testing conducted by vendors.

To date, around 20 technology vendors have licensed the underlying technology from Savi.

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