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Cisco Ethernet Switch - Cisco Revamps Ethernet Switches, Drives Sales

percent market network data

The Ethernet switch market, which continues to rebound from the low points of the recession, is anticipating significant growth in 2010, in part because of strong shipments of fixed 10G Ethernet switches.

One research analyst group predicts top-of-rack Ethernet switches, which sit on top of a cabinet of rack-mounted servers that handle traffic, will generate more than $500 million in revenues this year. The worldwide market for 10G Ethernet switches was $737 million in the third quarter and the analyst group forecasts it to grow to $908 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 23 percent.

The term Ethernet refers to the family of local area network (LAN) products covered by the IEEE 802.3 standard and includes 10 Mbps 10Base-T Ethernet, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet and 1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet. It is currently used for roughly 80 to 85 percent of the world’s LAN-connected PCs and workstations.

The clear leader in total switch share, Cisco Systems had a 67 percent share of the market in 2009, compared to a 72 percent share in 2007. However, the company
is under attack from increased competition from the newly combined HP/3Com, Adtran, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Brocade, Juniper, Linksys and others.

Even if Cisco is under attack from all sides, the company remained the clear winner in the first quarter, growing their Ethernet switching revenues about 17 percent while other vendors combined grew 1 percent, according to analysts. What’s more, Ethernet switch manufacturer revenue is up 41 percent from the recession’s low in the first quarter of 2009.

In spite of its dominance of the market, Cisco’s results were mixed as the company had a flat first quarter in enterprise router sales while small office/home office router sales increased significantly.

Cisco’s Ethernet Switch products range from the Campus LAN Core switches, which meet the demands of a global, mobile workforce and feature a highly secure end-to-end architecture and integrated services to the data center switches, which build a data center network based on switches that promote infrastructure scalability and operational continuity.

For example, the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series provides a network foundation that supports the Cisco Data Center 3.0, delivering 10 aggregation while the Cisco Catalyst 4500 series delivers high availability with in-service software upgrade and includes Power over Ethernet Plus for net-generation high power devices.

Cisco also offers aggregation switches which provide the aggregation and multiplexing layer between access and edge layers while the Ethernet Access Switches feature application intelligence, unified services, virtualization and simplified manageability.

Earlier this year, Cisco rolled out new fixed Ethernet access switches that includes the Catalyst 3750-X and the 3560-X fixed-switching portfolio, which the company said will bring increased security and energy efficiency to the company’s products.

In another roll-out, Cisco introduced new managed Ethernet switches and IP (Internet Protocol) phones. Cisco started shipping the Cisco 300 Series Managed Switches, which have an array of management settings that can be set remotely by a service provider or system integrator, and address both power consumption and IPv6. Another new switch line is the Catalyst 2960-S which comes with 24 or 48 10/100/1000Mbps ports, 4 Gigabit or 2 10G Ethernet SFP+ fixed uplinks and two software options based on feature requirements and price.

There are a number of different types of managed switches that come in sizes from just a few ports up to more than 96 ports.

Cisco’s Ethernet strategy goes hand in hand with the company’s data center and mobility strategies. For instance, Cisco is using Ethernet on the mobility front by working with communications companies to transmit wireless voice and data traffic, a market in which Cisco claims roughly 57 percent of that global market.

The original Ethernet was developed as an experimental coaxial cable network in the 1970s by Xerox Corporation. By the early 1980s Digital Equipment Corporation and Intel joined Xerox in developing the 10-Mbps Ethernet Version 1.0 specification. Ethernet has steadily evolved to provide additional performance and network intelligence.

Industry experts from Google, Cisco, VMware, NetApp and Intel plan to host a one-day event in October in Santa Clara, California that will focus on the impact Ethernet networks of the future will have on system and component design.

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