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Non-Ethernet network sales set to slow

18 October, 2007

The long-term prospects for traditional, non-Ethernet-based industrial device networks are looking bleak as industrial Ethernet migrates to lower levels of the industrial automation hierarchy. The market analyst ARC predicts that although sales of traditional industrial device networks will continue to grow to the end of this decade, they will slow from double-digit annual gains, to single-digit increases.

ARC expects the global market for traditional industrial device networks to grow at a CAGR of 13.7% over the coming five years. Last year, more than 12 million nodes were shipped, and by 2011, this figure will almost double to around 23 million nodes.

The low installation costs of these networks, and their increased functionality compared to traditional point-to-point wiring, will help to sustain demand for them.

Several traditional device networks have passed the significant milestones of ten years of service and millions of nodes installed, ARC points out, and they have been adopted widely, especially in OEM machinery applications.

But it is becoming increasingly obvious that these networks will have to co-exist with other industrial interfaces, especially Ethernet. While third parties are introducing connectors that allow disparate networks to be integrated at the hardware level, network integration at a higher level is more attractive for OEMs and end-users, ARC suggests.

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