Worldwide shipments of wireless Ethernet infrastructure components and network software for use in industrial facilities are expected to increase.
The evolution of standards, enhanced security and increased bandwidth have propelled the use of wireless Ethernet into industrial environments. Once used solely for warehouse and distribution applications, the technology has carried over to industrial shop floor control environments, according to a report by Venture Development Corp., Natick, Mass.

Benefits of wireless Ethernet in industrial applications include:

  • Mobility. Portable operator interfaces having wireless monitoring and control capabilities allow operators, engineers and maintenance personnel to interface with equipment remotely, which enhances operator safety and provides flexible network architectures that are useful in plant installations.

  • Flexibility. Wireless solutions allow easier add-ons, removals and changes to the network. This is valuable in applications where changeouts or expansions are frequent and expensive.

  • Cost. Wireless networks negate the cost of the cable previously needed to connect devices and controllers. Eliminating the need for wires inherently decreases installation time, providing a significant savings on materials and labor costs.

The market for wireless Ethernet infrastructure components and network software for industrial applications totaled $75.1 million in 2003 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34.7 percent, reaching $183.4 million in 2006, said Venture Development in its report, “Worldwide Industrial Markets for Wireless Ethernet Infrastructure Components and Network Software.”