A recent report from the Natick, Mass.-based company forecasts that the global market for wireless infrastructure networking products use in industrial facilities will expand at a 34 percent compound annual growth rate over the next several years, rising from shipments of $261.9 million in 2006 to more than $1.1 billion in 2011.
VDC defines wireless infrastructure products as antennas; wireless networking components, such as access points, bridges, console servers, device servers, gateways (protocol converters), hubs, modems, multiplexers, repeaters, routers, switches and transceivers; and network management software.
VDC cites several factors that are expected to contribute to the robust growth:
l There is a general trend toward networking in industrial facilities as a means of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving productivity. Networking provides real-time data and information for better control, management, and decision making.
l Networking provides the ability to monitor and control operations and machinery remotely. This capability can enhance safety, increase productivity, and reduce the number of engineers, equipment operators and maintenance personnel needed.
l Networking eliminates point-to-point hard wiring, which is both expensive to install, difficult to troubleshoot and hard to modify. Networking allows easier add-ons, changes and removal functions. This is especially valuable in applications where change-outs or expansions are frequent and expensive.
l Helping the high growth trend to industrial networking is the growing acceptance of standard solutions, particularly Ethernet, and its wireless versions (Wi-Fi). These provide interoperability of equipment and devices from many suppliers. This competition is resulting in better performance and lower prices.