Drives and Controls Magazine
Industrial networking sales head for $5.6bn by 2012
Published:  04 December, 2008

The global market for industrial networking products will expand with a CAGR of 24.6% over the period to 2012, by when it will be worth more than $5.6bn, says a new study from the US market analyst, VDC Research. The study looks at networking components, connectors and cables, and network management software  

The bulk of sales (more than $1.2bn out of a market worth a total of $1.8bn in 2007) are for products that support Ethernet. VDC predicts that Ethernet-based shipments will grow at a 28.5% CAGR to more than $4.5bn by 2012. Ethernet’s share of the total industrial networking market will rise from about 69% in 2007, to more than 80% by 2012.

While Ethernet is gaining market share, it is not simply displacing other bus and network protocols. Several popular application-layer protocols being used with industrial Ethernet networks have been adopted from standard industrial buses and networks. Most of the major industrial bus organisations – including those behind Ethernet/IP, Foundation Fieldbus HSE, Modbus TCP, and Profinet – have introduced Ethernet versions of their protocols.  
VDC expects industrial Ethernet networking to maintain a substantial growth rate over the coming four years. However, there will be growing competition from wireless networks. VDC points out that the growing acceptance of Ethernet is helping to promote the acceptance of wireless Ethernet networks. 
But, for the present, at least, many plant-floor automation users are finding hard-wired networking products to be more reliable than wireless. They are looking for interference-free performance with high reliability and security. End-users usually feel that hard-wired products guarantee this best.