Switch and Router Market Goes Flat

10GbE remains the primary bright spot in the networking market

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Mar 6, 2013
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The global market for Ethernet switches and routers isn't growing all that fast. New data from IDC for the fourth quarter of 2012 shows a market that isn't all that better than it was in 2011.

According to IDC'S Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker, global Layer2/3 Ethernet switch revenues grew by only 0.5 percent on a year-over-year basis to $5.7 billion.

The global market for routers is actually doing a little worse coming, in at a 0.2 percent year-over-year decline.

The big area of growth for the switching market continues to be Layer 2/3 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). According to IDC, 10GbE switch revenue in the fourth quarter passed $2 billion for a 14.9 percent year-over-year growth rate. Shipments of 10GbE switch ports grew to nearly 4 million ports in the quarter, representing a 43.9 percent year-over-year gain.

Cisco currently dominates the 10GbE space with a 66.1 percent market share. Cisco's overall Layer 2/3 switch share actually declined in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 61.2 percent, down from 64.0 percent in the prior year.

"While growth in the Ethernet switch market will largely come from 10GbE and 40GbE in the coming years, it is encouraging to note that the market for Gigabit Ethernet is holding its own, largely in campus, aggregation, and network edge deployments," said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC, in a statement. "While enterprise mobility is no doubt the focus for IT and network managers, the underlying wired infrastructure is also continuing to get mindshare in the context of a holistic approach to the network in delivering applications to end-users."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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