The adoption of industrial device networking is increasing because it provides the ability to interactively access, evaluate and utilise data from networked equipment via a LAN or the Internet. Industry analysts expect the use of device networking especially in industrial environments to grow 44 percent in the next five years.
Device networking includes both wired and wireless technologies. A recent ARC Advisory Group study indicates that the worldwide market for the use of wireless technology in manufacturing is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 26 percent during the next five years.
Ethernet is an established networking standard, robust and reliable enough to support industrial networking. It is also rapidly gaining momentum in industrial automation because it is an open standard, fast, can support multiple fieldbus protocols simultaneously and can leverage existing equipment and IT tools. To connect non-networked equipment to a LAN or the Internet, manufacturers are depending on Ethernet and 802.11.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established a family of wireless local area network (WLAN) standards, known as 802.11. There are many versions of the 802.11 standard.
The two that are most widely used are 802.11b and 802.11g. The 802.11b offers wireless transmissions of up to 11 megabits per second while 802.11g offers wireless transmission at up to 54 megabits per second. Both 802.11b and 802.11g operate in the 2.4 GHz range. 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b equipment.