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Industrial Wireless Expected to Grow Despite Ailing Economy

Wireless has overcome initial concerns and will grow at more than 25 percent annually in the industrial space, says a recent report. Wireless Ethernet leads the way, but proprietary protocols still account for the second largest share of shipments.

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Wireless technology is gaining favor in the eyes of more industrial users, according to a recent data from VDC Research Group (, Natick, Mass. The worldwide market for industrial infrastructure wireless networking products exceeded $299 million in 2007, the company said in a recent report. Despite current economic conditions, VDC forecasts this market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 25.4 percent through 2012, reaching $928 million.

“There has clearly been a shift in the awareness of the benefits of wireless networking. Wireless has overcome many of the initial concerns regarding security and the perception is now that it offers ease of implementation, and lower maintenance and installation costs,” said Jim Taylor, Director at VDC Research.

The majority of shipments are in products with wireless Ethernet connectivity—based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ IEEE 802.11 standards. Among these, the IEEE 802.11g standard is currently the most popular.

Proprietary protocols, operating principally in the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 800/900 megahertz (MHz) bands, account for the second largest share of shipments, VDC said. In 2007, proprietary networks accounted for 37 percent of the worldwide wireless networking infrastructure market for the products under study. Although a shift toward use of standard networks is expected, shipments with proprietary networks are forecast to still account for more than 29 percent of the market in 2012.

“Even though many suppliers suggest that security is an application concern, not a technology concern, there is still a perceived notion that proprietary networks are more secure than standard types. This is a major reason users continue to implement proprietary networks,” explained Ladd Bodem, Practice Director at VDC Research.

The wireless data was included in VDC “Supply-Side Analysis Reports” which are part of the firm’s annual Industrial Networking Global Market Intelligence Service.

VDC Research Group

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