Modern factory automation and process control systems are strongly based on communication networks, which have to ensure timely and reliable data exchange among their components. In this context, which is often characterized by hostile operational conditions (EMC disturbances, low/high temperatures, movements of people and equipment, high voltage discharges etc.), industrial networks started to be introduced roughly at the end of the ’80s. Since then, their deployment has impressively grown, involving networks like Fieldbuses, Real–Time Ethernet and wireless systems, in various heterogeneous application fields characterized by different topologies, configurations and performance figures.
This Special Issue involves selected teams of researchers and practitioners from academia as well as from the industry. It has been conceived, on the one hand, to address topics that are of prominent importance nowadays while, on the other hand, it aims at investigating new perspectives, by exploring new developments and expected fields of application. In this respect, specific attention will be paid to practical applications, particularly to those concerned with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the paradigm that claims for the world–wide reliable, possibly fast, connection of heterogeneous nodes such as commercial devices like smartphones and tablet PCs, industrial equipment, sensors, and actuators.