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Studies indicate significant potential in industrial automation networks

By Max Burkhalter
February 24, 2012
The market for infrastructure supporting industrial automation network infrastructure is positioned to experience considerable growth, with multiple industry conditions pushing organizations to invest in new hardware. Citing studies from the ARC Advisory Group and VDC Research, a recent Cabling Installation & Maintenance report said the various network architectures that support industrial automation operations do face some risks moving forward, but will likely grow substantially despite these issues.

According to the ARC Advisory Group, the automation network sector is positioned to return to pre-recession levels. However, global economic trends have the potential to derail the current optimism in the industry, the report said.

"U.S. unemployment rates continue to be a deterring factor, as does the European debt crisis. Due to the numerous risks still present and the lag between orders and final shipment for new project business, short-term prospects for the market range widely by region and industry. While most sectors are expected to experience positive growth over the forecast period, growth in the oil and gas and electric power markets will drive the overall market growth positively in 2011 and beyond," said David Clayton, senior analyst for automation with ARC, according to the news source.

VDC Research sees a similar mix of risk and potential. However, the rising need to invest in networking infrastructure to compete more effectively within the recovering economy is leading to more spending, the report said.

One likely area for funding is Ethernet systems. VDC explained that real-time Ethernet investments will dominate the industrial automation sector, where it is quickly emerging as the networking protocol of choice. Converging IT architectures will also become more common during the period, the report said.

The VDC Research study explained that these rising investments in network architectures stem from a growing realization that organizations need to reduce their costs and improve productivity. The news source said networking is proving integral to supporting the operational goals of businesses in the challenging economy.

Ethernet's rising prevalence in the industrial automation sector comes as more organizations realize the technology's potential. In the past, manufacturers had to deploy a diverse range of networking systems to support the unique needs of different operations. Ethernet has matured into a technology that can support the diverse functions needed within the industrial sector while also offering the precision to handle automation functions.

Perle’s serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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