The ethernet controller market is expected to register a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period 2021 - 2026. As Ethernet controller controls Ethernet communications, the trend towards industrial Ethernet physical layer (PHY) products to help manufacturers addressing key Industry 4.0 and smart factory communication challenges surrounding data integration, synchronization, edge connectivity, and system interoperability is highly being adopted. The ADIN1300, for example, is a low-power, single-port Ethernet transceiver designed for time-critical industrial Ethernet applications up to Gigabit speeds and designed to operate reliably in harsh industrial conditions over extended ambient temperature ranges. It is the latest technology developed for the company's ADI Chronous portfolio of industrial Ethernet solutions.
- Adoption of EtherCat for the real-time network for machine control drives the market. EtherCAT uses the implementation of on-board Ethernet controller integrated via Direct Memory Access (DMA), so no CPU capacity is required for the data transfer between the master device and the network providing higher orders of magnitude faster than Profibus, DeviceNet, and ModbusTCP. Automation equipment manufacturers can use EtherCAT on their own device implementations to improve performance and flexibility, while end-users and automation system designers can implement their own EtherCAT-compliant devices. Further, EtherCAT is part of several IEC Standards (61158, 61784, 61800), ISO 15745, and is also a SEMI standard (E54.20).
- In April 2020, Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the RX72N Group and RX66N Group of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), new additions to the RX Family that combines equipment control and networking function on a single chip with EtherCAT support.
- The adoption of USB Ethernet controllers drives the market. There are various protocols for Ethernet-style networking over USB. The main function of these protocols is to allow the application-independent exchange of data with USB devices, instead of specialized protocols such as video or MTP. Even though USB is not a physical Ethernet, the networking stacks of all major operating systems are set up to transport IEEE 802.3 frames.
- For instance, implementing the KL5KUSB121 10/100 Base-T USB-Ethernet controller provides highly integrated 16-bit RISC CPU, mask ROM, and RAM buffer coupled with serial, external memory, and SPORT interfaces. It easily converts USB to Ethernet. The chip's internal processor enables a remote network device interface specification that provides compatibility with next-generation operating systems and faster data transfers and is well suited for LAN, Home Area Network, cable modem, set-top boxes, or mobile networking applications.
- The impact of COVID-19 has provided the restraints to market growth. There is nearly an 80% chance for significant contraction in worldwide semiconductor revenues in 2020, which also affects the market of ethernet controllers due to the massive slowdown of the supply chain. A player such as Arista, Cisco, Juniper, and many others in the 400GbE ecosystem planned to demonstrate interoperability and the growing volume of 400GbE wares at OFC (Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition) 2020 and the major networking vendors working on 400GbE were reported some degree of 400G implementation, but the players have decided to manufacture in the first half of 2021, and currently, the production has been stopped.
- Further, as the epidemic has caused the manufacturing industry to slow down, the requirement of EtherCAT in the industry is most vital as it provides real-time, deterministic, high performance, and open industrial Ethernet network protocol and can ensure the data transmission certainty and real-time. In April 2020, ASIX Electronics Corporation announced to supply EtherCAT Slave Controller SoC in China and other parts of the world, which caters to the significant assistance in the market growth. But overall, the growth is restrained due to negligible demand from all the sectors.
Key Market Trends
Gigabit Ethernet to Witness Growth in Data Centers
- Data-intensive applications such as big data and cloud computing continue to grow at an accelerating rate. Multiple terabits of data travel to and from the data center each second. Moving such massive data around the data center requires a robust infrastructure that is capable of handling high bandwidth data delivery having high IP traffic to and from storage endpoints, servers, top-of-rack (TOR) switches, and core switches. This penetrates the demand of an ethernet controller, which connects devices using media access control (MAC) addresses.
- Players such as Marvell Ethernet Network Adapters and Controllers are purpose-built to accelerate and simplify data center, PC and workstation networking. Marvell Ethernet controllers deliver Ethernet connectivity speeds ranging from NBASE-T for Workstations to data center-class 10/25/50/100GbE for high-volume software-defined datacenters.
- Further, rising power consumption and costs related to continuous growth in data are bringing data centers to face the challenges of delivering greater storage bandwidth and capacity. To address such issues, in April 2020, Marvell's MRVL QLogic Fibre Channel and FastLinQ Ethernet adapter solutions will now enable NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) technology in VMwarevSphere 7.0, displaying its continued efforts to strengthen its end-to-end Ethernet storage and bandwidth capabilities.
- Further, with an increasing demand for networking speed and throughput performance within the data center and high-performance computing clusters, in April 2020, the newly rebranded Ethernet Technology Consortium has announced a new 800 Gigabit Ethernet technology for data center replacing the 400 Gigabit Ethernet. The 800 B base-R specification (or 800 GbE) will need new definitions for media access control (MAC) and physical coding sublayer (PCS). This further benefits hyperscale datacenter networks that span a large number of nodes and require multiple hops.
- Furthermore, in April 2020, Tyan has officially announced its support for the new chips on selecting models of their Transport HX barebones servers, which are designed for high-performance computing and server data-driven workflows. It includes Transport HX TN83-B8251, TS75A-B8252, and the TS75-B8252, where on the motherboard, there is an Intel X550-AT2 dual 10 G Ethernet controller, with a dedicated Realtek IPMI Ethernet port, and an Aspeed AST2500 BMC. Each model has offered its own benefits for the server, data center, and high-frequency trading systems.
- Moreover, as the demand for public cloud services continues to grow, hyper-scale data centers and cloud providers increasingly rely on multicore SmartNIC solutions to offload infrastructure services and workloads to maximize server utilization. In March 2020, Broadcom Inc. announced that its Stingray adapter, the industry's first 100G SmartNIC (integrated NetXtreme Ethernet Controller), is powering Baidu Cloud with unprecedented levels of performance. The Stingray adapter's exceptional levels of integration, includes eight ARM A72 CPU cores running at 3GHz, 300G of memory bandwidth.
North America Accounts for Significant Share
- North America accounts for a significant share. With the increase in the development of technology along with the adoption of a high rate of consumer electronics such as gaming consoles, etc., the demand for the ethernet controller is growing in this region.
- For instance, in April 2020, Killer announced the Killer E3100 Ethernet controller is improving the internet performance by prioritizing gaming and rescuing up CPU power and PC memory. It reaches speeds up to 2.5Gbps and can combine with Killer Wi-Fi products to reach up to 4.9 Gbps of theoretical throughput. The Killer 3100 is available in systems from Acer and MSI, including the newly announced MSI Creator 17 and MSI GE66 Raider.
- Further, as the automotive industry increasingly adopts Ethernet in-vehicle networks for mainstream models, the number of related ports is expected to grow at a 62% annualized growth trajectory, from 53 million in 2018 to 367 million by 2022, according to Marvell Technology Group. Moreover, in September 2019, Marvell Technology Group completed the acquisition of Aquantia Corporation to expand the market in automotive solutions.
- The acquisition of Aquantia complements Marvell's portfolio of copper and optical, physical layer product offerings, and extends its position in the Multi-Gig 2.5G/5G/10G Ethernet segments. In particular, Aquantia's innovative Multi-gig automotive PHYs, coupled with Marvell's gigabit PHY and secure switch products, creates a broad range of high-speed in-car networking solutions.
- Further, in November 2019, Astronics Ballard announced to embed an open architecture with a 64-bit processing foundation and Ethernet backbone across its next generation of NG avionics input/output (I/O) computers. Inside the next generation, boxes are simple converters capable of supporting Ethernet, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 among other data bus protocols, and the processing is capable of enabling advanced distributed control and mission computing on fighter jets, drones, and helicopters.
- To support the instance, in January 2019, U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy officials signed a memorandum agreeing that future acquisitions of new aircraft technologies will focus on using the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). In addition to MOSA, the NG computers also meet the design requirements for DoD's Open Mission Systems (OMS) standard. This enhances the demand for the market in this sector.
The ethernet controller market is fragmented in nature due to high competition. Despite the fragmentation, the market is largely tied by the regulatory requirements for establishment and operation. Further, with increasing innovation, acquisitions, and partnerships, the rivalry in the market tends to be increasing in the future. Key players are Intel Corporation and Broadcom Inc.
Recent developments in the market are -
- March 2020 - Ethernity Networks introduced its ENET-D, an add-on Ethernet Controller technology to its ACE-NIC100 SmartNIC that efficiently processes millions of data flows and offers performance acceleration for networking and security appliances. ENET-D is an Ethernet adapter and DMA (direct memory access) engine that eliminates the need for proprietary hardware on a network interface card. By fitting into various FPGAs and enabling customers to further avoid ASIC-based components, ENET-D advances complete disaggregation at the edge of the network.
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