Industrial Ethernet switches: trends, applications

Control Engineering International: In February 2012, Control Engineering China sent control engineers a questionnaire about industrial Ethernet switch applications and trends; 375 readers from 20 industries responded; 63% expect to purchase Ethernet switches this year; factors hindering purchase included...


Control Engineering surveyIn February 2012, Control Engineering China did the “2012 CEC Industrial Ethernet Switch Application Trend Analysis” by sending control engineers a questionnaire about industrial Ethernet switches. Respondents totaled 375 from 20 industries, and 64% are end users of industrial Ethernet switches,

26% are system integrators or agents, and 10% others.

According to the survey, 63% of the companies in which the respondents work plan to purchase industrial Ethernet switches within a year. The high expense of implementing and lack of understanding of Ethernet and switch technology are two main reasons why industrial Ethernet switches haven’t been more widely used in the industrial field, respondents said.

What's hindering use of the industrial Ethernet switches?

49% High cost of application


49% Lack of understanding of Ethernet and switch technology


36% Existing equipment’s competence


36% Uncertainty of the Ethernet technology and its utility effect


4% Other

Source: Control Engineering China online survey on industrial Ethernet, March 2012

When considering buying a new Industrial Ethernet switch, 76% expressed concern about its stability, the most important consideration, by far, when purchasing. The second biggest concern is low maintenance cost at 56%.

Types of industrial Ethernet switches selected differ among industries. Users prefer purchasing modular Ethernet switches, managed Ethernet switches, and rack-mounted Ethernet switches. For demanding applications, the modular Ethernet switch was most widely selected, at 60%. Managed Ethernet switches accounted for 56% of responses, double that of unmanaged Ethernet switches.

The survey involved more than 30 industrial Ethernet switch brands. The leading five are manufactured in foreign-funded (non-China-based) enterprises. The two most popular brands were attractive to nearly half of respondents.

Various managed and modular Ethernet switches are named in the linked article below, “Modular, managed industrial Ethernet switches.”

-Control Engineering China March 2012 article edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

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