The revenue market share for standalone industrial routers is set to decline over the next five years, according to a report from IHS. The report, titled “Industrial Ethernet Infrastructure Components – World – 2013,” shows Layer 3 switches are being introduced as another viable option similar to standalone routers that can be used to interface networks over longer distances, providing the ability to link systems globally.

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To date, managed switches have been used more often in industrial networking, but most have only Layer 2 functionality and cannot be used 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."

Routers, Network Interface

Figure 1 forecast revenues for Layer 3 switches, Layer 2 switches and standalone routers, showing how managed switches are still important in industrial networking.

Routers, Network Interface

Figure 2 shows year-on-year revenue percentage growth, which illustrates the far higher growth rate forecast for Layer 3 managed switches compared to that of standalone routers.