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A report from IMS Research claims that, although more than five million Ethernet nodes were installed in industrial automation networks in 2008, the number will fall to less than 4.7 million in 2009.

Sixteen product groups were analysed to assess their Ethernet networking connectivity and use.

Forecasts of industrial production by sector were used to give a realistic projection of Ethernet use in industrial automation to 2013.

John Morse, the author of the report, said: ‘Although the worldwide downturn in industrial activity will reduce the number of new nodes being installed in 2009, the percentage decline is less than for industrial automation as a whole, indicating that Ethernet is continuing to gain favour with users.

‘Despite the short-term decline, the report predicts that industrial Ethernet networking installations will grow by more than 10 per cent a year from 2011,’ he added.

The report estimates that more than half of the Ethernet nodes deployed in most industrial automation applications are of the standard Ethernet TCP/IP variety.

However, new installations of dedicated industrial variants are projected to grow by 40 per cent from 2008 to 2013.

Different regions have different dominant suppliers, so there is considerable regional difference in which variant is chosen.

The report also analyses industrial Ethernet infrastructure components.

The estimated value of the world market was USD720m (GBP436m) in 2008, but is projected to fall to around USD650m in 2009.

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