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Cisco Tops Rebounded Ethernet Switch Market

The Ethernet switch market, clobbered during the early days of the recession, has rebounded from its recent low point and managed to post a 4.5% year-over-year gain in the first quarter, according to a report issued this week by Infonetics Research.

With several companies attacking Cisco for revenue market share, the Ethernet leader managed to shake off the contenders, although HP -- boosted by its recent acquisition of 3Com -- emerged as a clear number two challenger to Cisco. Avaya, another new challenger, also appeared in the market for the first time as a serious player, bolstered by its recent acquisition of Nortel Networks' enterprise unit.

"Although Cisco is under attack from all sides, they emerge the clear winner in the first quarter, growing their Ethernet switching revenue about 17% while all other vendors combined grew 1%," said Matthias Machowinski, the market research firm's directing analyst for enterprise voice and data.

Cisco achieved a 72.3% Ethernet revenue market share, its largest share in years, Infonetics said. The overall Ethernet switch market was $4.6 billion in the first quarter, representing a 12% gain over the previous quarter.

Compared to the previous year's first quarter, Ethernet switch manufacturer revenue is up 41% from the recession's low in the first quarter of 2009.

Infonetics said worldwide revenue from high-end to low-end enterprise Ethernet routers held steady in the first quarter versus the year-earlier quarter. Total revenue results for enterprise routers was $818 million.

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 high-end and low-end small office / home office router sales increased significantly. Cisco's mid-range router sales showed a decrease, Infonetics said.