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Stand-alone industrial routers quickly losing lustre

Posted: 08 Nov 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stand-alone industrial router? managed switches? industrial networking?

According to the latest forecast from IHS, stand-alone industrial routers may not disappear, but their revenue market share is set to decline over the next five years to 2017. Stand-alone routers in the past have been used to interface networks over longer distances, often via the Internet, providing the ability to link systems globally. Increasingly, however, Layer 3 switches are being introduced to the market that can perform the same routing functions. To date managed switches are used more often in industrial networking, but most have only Layer 2 functionality and cannot be used as a result for routing.

"The way networks are constructed is changing," said John Morse, senior automation analyst with IHS. "Most of the changes are forecast to be at the controller-to-controller and enterprise levels, particularly where networks are being linked together. These can be right next to each other or on the other side of the world."

Managed switches are still important in industrial networking, which compares forecast revenues for Layer 3 switches, Layer 2 switches and stand-alone routers.

Several drivers are behind this trend, IHS forecasted, of which cost is the most significant. A typical network will comprise many elements, including unmanaged and managed switches. By including a Layer 3 switch, the network has a gateway to wide-area networks, including the Internet. Such a structure then obviates the need for a separate router.

In addition to the cost savings that result from a reduced component count, system designers are able to employ the expanded product functionality that managed switches can provide, such as monitoring, data collection and port priority.

While most suppliers for the industrial Ethernet components market interviewed for the report recognise the slower growth of router sales, they believe they will have a place in modern industrial networks for the foreseeable future.





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