Fuelled by strong demand for Layer 2 and Layer 3 local area network (Lan) devices, global switch sales totalled $3.8bn in the final quarter of 2004, newly published research has indicated.
According to Infonetics, the sales represented a strong increase of 22 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2003, and 24 per cent year-on-year growth.
The analyst firm's latest quarterly market share and forecast service noted that worldwide L2-L3 Ethernet switch revenue made up the lion's share of total Lan switching sales.
Between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the fourth quarter of 2005, L2-L3 Ethernet switch ports and revenue are projected to increase seven per cent and two per cent respectively.
"It's been a good year in the Lan switch market," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research.
"Sales of Gigabit switches drove the market significantly higher and, on a yearly revenue basis, are finally outpacing those of 10/100M switches.
"Cisco continues to have a stronghold on the overall market, especially in the chassis segment. But Cisco has been steadily losing fixed configuration port market share over the past year, against competitors like Netgear and D-Link."
The worldwide total for L4-L7 switch/load balancers reached $165m in the fourth quarter of 2004, a nine per cent increase over the same period the previous year, driven by sales of chassis-based devices.
According to the study, Cisco leads the worldwide L2-L3 fixed configuration switch market, with 56 per cent revenue market share and 29 per cent port market share in 2004.
3Com took second place in worldwide L2-L3 fixed configuration switch revenue share in 2004, while Netgear remained second in worldwide port market share and sixth in revenue market share.
Fixed switches represented 40 per cent of total L2-L3 switch revenue in 2003, while chassis switches represented 60 per cent. But in 2004 the split is 45 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.
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