Growth in shipments of traditional networks will continue through the end of the decade, but growth will slow from double-digit gains to single-digit increases. The worldwide market is expected to grow 13.7% annually over the next five years. Over 12 million nodes shipped in 2006, and about 23 million are predicted to ship in 2011, according to a study by ARC Advisory Group, Dedham, Mass.

Originally viewed as a radical departure from point-to-point factory wiring, traditional networks grew rapidly because of lowered wiring costs. OEM machines using networks have been particularly strong as both standard and proprietary networks wire myriad sensors, actuators, reomote I/O, and other devices. Networks let OEMs reduce hardware, installation, and maintenance costs through reduced wiring, remote access, and the ability to reuse configurations, profiles, and other software.