Industrial Ethernet switches have blossomed in recent years from network accessory devices to core network infrastructure components. Customers increasingly rely on industrial Ethernet as their network platform of choice, recognizing that it can deliver concrete business benefits in areas, such as reduced machine downtime. Industrial Ethernet continues to cement its position as the platform of choice in automation architectures. This includes supporting emerging industry initiatives, such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrie 4.0, and IT/OT convergence. Both existing and new suppliers are introducing new product configurations targeted to meet the needs of specific installations.
While the term "industrial Ethernet switch" remains valid due to the need to meet specific environmental, electrical, and other requirements, classic industrial automation now accounts for only about one-half of the current market. Infrastructure applications in industries such as smart grid, intelligent rail and traffic, security and surveillance, and utilities are driving increases in both market size and future growth prospects. As a result, the spectrum of both served applications and product configurations continues to broaden and will result in an evolving profile for future products. Recognizing this trend is important to help users select the right devices for their applications, since configurations vary.