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Ethernet switch market takes a breather in Q1

The Ethernet switching market has got off to a sluggish start in 2011, according to the latest Enterprise Networks Tracker report from market-watchers at IDC, with sales down 9.1 per cent year-on-year and 12.5 per cent over Q4 2010, to just above $5bn, reversing several quarters of 30 per cent growth.

With no obvious reason for the slowdown, IDC director of enterprise communications infrastructure, Rohit Mehra, said that it was most likely a reflection of the market “taking a pause after the strong growth from previous quarters”.

“This was a tough quarter for most of the major vendors, either sequentially or on a year-by-year basis,” said Mehra.

However, there were signs that some segments of the Ethernet switching market were still strengthening, said IDC, with strong datacentre and campus core deployments driving 10GB Ethernet switch revenues up just under 16 per cent and shipments up to 1.35 million ports, even as per port prices slumped 20%.

IDC’s latest report also highlighted the ongoing decline of Fast Ethernet compared to Gigabit Ethernet, with the former now commanding just 11.4 per cent of the market, although analysts pointed out it remained an attractive and cost-effective option in the SME sector.

Meanwhile, the worldwide router market showed slightly better form, said IDC, up 6.9 per cent year-on-year, although it too showed a seasonal quarterly decline.

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