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Positive Networking Sector Performance is Real

The networking sector has been a fairly solid rock in a sometimes jolting ride through this earnings season. While some other sectors of the tech market have struggled to report positive findings, networking companies for the most part are coming out of the earnings season on an upswing. (A notable exception was Nortel, who has governance issues to deal with -- showing yet again that bad ethics is really bad business.)

The gains made by the industry appear to be real and based on solid fundamentals. Projections are based on actual increases in demand for new networking technologies. It reflects a growing commitment among both service providers and enterprises that it is time to leave behind yesterday's ways and move forward assertively toward next-generation infrastructures.

This view is supported by Ari Bensinger, Standard & Poor's communications equipment analyst, who reports the current rebound in expenditures on enterprise networking equipment and telecommunications is underway and is expected to continue throughout 2004.

Industry buyers are aggressively implementing initiatives to enable convergence, accelerate data traffic and transition away from old voice and data networks toward packet switching, Voice-Over-Internet Protocol and third generation (3G) wireless networks. We are seeing rapid progress in building out the last mile, or "edge," infrastructures to bring high-speed communications into more households and businesses.

"As telecom and cable companies enter each others' markets, they will need to upgrade their infrastructure. The more competitive environment will also create new demand for companies that can help customers build and manage multipurpose networks."

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