Industrial Control DesignLine Blog
Standardization around the PC and related technologies has brought huge benefits to many industries, primarily in cost savings and simplifying maintenance. These and other factors have made Ethernet the network of choice in factories, with many real time variations overcoming the latency issues that once restricted Ethernet to the front office.
Now, it's moving into the final frontier, replacing field buses. Costs are still higher than for many of these protocols, but a growing number of companies are deciding that the life cycle cost benefits outweigh the acquisition cost of a few switches. As these costs come down, it will become even more practical to update legacy equipment to Ethernet when it's time to make changes. The factory floor isn't a place where commodity products always win out, but the roadblocks that once barred Ethernet seem to fade with each passing year.