Enterprise WAN Router Buyer's Guide - Page 2

When you're in the market for an enterprise WAN router, bandwidth isn't your only consideration: security and future network services, like voice, also figure in.

 By Drew Robb
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As a rule of thumb, Umeda said to start with bandwidth. How much capacity do you need and how much can a specific router support? This determines how much you should pay. Huge expensive routers might give a tremendous amount of bandwidth but why buy them if you will never take advantage of it. Correct sizing, then, is key. Another decision is whether to opt for a single-vendor or multi-vendor set up.

"Some services work better when you utilize a single vendor at both ends, while with others there is no difference at all," said Omeda.

Finally, the Dell'Oro analyst mentions management. Some organizations require a high level of centralized management of devices, while others have a more distributed infrastructure. The kind of IT organization in place can determine whether a more expensive WAN router is needed at head office (replete with state-of-the-art management functions) or if a less expensive router will suffice.

Vendor Battle

While Cisco remains the major force in enterprise WAN routers, its dominance is less than in other areas. Cisco leads the field with a 60 percent share in 2010 followed by Juniper Networks with 22 percent, Chinese company Huawei with12 percent and Brocade with 4 percent according to Dell'Oro. While Huawei isn't that well known in North America, that will change over time. But for now, it mainly sells in China and even then primarily to service providers.

"We haven't seen much shift in market share numbers over the past three years," said Umeda.

However, the total size of the market has shrunk. It was $700 million each year from 2006 to 2008 and crashed to $400 million in 2009. This year it rebounded a little to half a billion. But Umeda doesn't expect it to top its 2008 total any time soon.

This article was originally published on Apr 8, 2011
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