802.11 networks gain share among North American wireless products


Natick, MA —Standardized IEEE 802.11 networks are expected to account for the most significant gains in share among wireless industrial products in North America 2007, a recent VDC study finds. IEEE 802.11a, b, and g networks combined to account for 33.6% of the 2004 North American market for wireless products used in on-site industrial monitoring and control applications. This share is expected to increase to 41.4% in 2007.

Proprietary protocols operating in the 900 MHz band accounted for the largest share of shipments in 2004, followed by IEEE 802.11b. The two networks combined to account for just over half the shipments and are expected to combine for a similar share in 2007, but with 802.11b gaining ground. IEEE 802.11a and g are also expected to increase in share, most of the gains coming at the expense of products using proprietary protocols in ISM bands.

Overall, current shipments of wireless products to North American markets in 2004 for on-site industrial monitoring and control applications total $150.5 million, with 802.11 accounting for about a third (33.6%). By 2007, shipments are forecast to reach $409.3 million, with the 802.11 share rising to 41.4% of the total.

Reasons for the shift include lower prices of 802.11 products, standardization of office and plant floor networks, multiple vendor options, and high data throughput. “The choice between standards networks like 802.11 and proprietary protocols is largely based on the applications requirements,” says VDC analyst Jake Millette. “802.11 is especially useful in applications with shorter transmission distances and high data rate requirements, whereas a proprietary protocol operating in lower frequencies are able to transmit longer distances and through more obstacles, albeit more slowly.”

Click here for more on the report.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, jkatzel@reedbusiness.com

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