The worldwide market for industrial infrastructure wireless networking products exceeded $299 million in 2007, according toSupply-Side Analysis Reports, a supplementary study produced as a part of VDC Research's annualIndustrial Networking Global Market Intelligence Service. Despite current economic conditions, the Natick, Mass.-based market research firm forecasts this market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 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,” says Jim Taylor, director at VDC Research.

The majority of shipments are in products with wireless Ethernet (IEEE 802.11 standards) connectivity. Among these, the IEEE 802.11g standard is currently the most popular.

Proprietary protocols -- operating principally in the 2.4 GHz and 800/900 MHz bands -- account for the second largest share of shipments. 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 over 29 percent of the market in 2012, according to the VDC report.

Ladd Bodem, practice director at VDC Research, explains, "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."