Wireless Mesh Networking Market to Hit $25 Million in 2007

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff July 18, 2005

Wireless mesh networking is expected to make significant inroads in industrial monitoring and control applications, according to a new study from market research firm Venture Development Corporation, although not necessarily due to ZigBee. According to VDC’s North American Market for RF/Microwave Wireless Monitoring and Control Products in Discrete and Process Manufacturing , shipments of wireless products under study utilizing mesh networking will grow from $6.1 million in 2004 to $25.1 million in 2007, a compound annual growth rate of 60.2%.

ZigBee-enabled products used in industrial monitoring and control applications accounted for only $0.5 million in 2004 and are expected to account for about $7 million in 2007. Although ZigBee-ready products were available in 2004, the standard is very new. Ratification of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard occurred in August 2003, while the ZigBee specification was finalized in December 2004 and the first “official” ZigBee-compliant products were shipped in April 2005.

Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, ZigBee is a global specification created by a multi-vendor consortium called the ZigBee Alliance. Whereas 802.15.4 defines the physical and MAC layers of an application, ZigBee defines the network/security layer, application framework and, in some cases, the application profile.

The majority of wireless mesh networking product shipments for industrial monitoring and control applications in North America currently are products operating in the ISM bands, with the 900 MHz band being most prevalent. As 802.15.4 and ZigBee become more accepted, the share of wireless mesh networking product shipments utilizing these standards will increase. However, products employing proprietary protocols and other standard networks are expected to account for the majority of shipments through 2007.