WLAN Spending Fuels Enterprise Network Market Growth

Companies are upgrading their networks to increase wireless capacity while moving cautiously with SDN, new market research shows.

Marcia Savage

October 8, 2015

2 Min Read
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The enterprise networking market grew 6% in the first half of this year as organizations overhauled their network architectures with a focus on adding more wireless capability, according to Technology Business Research.

Companies spent money to modernize their networks, driving $31.5 billion in revenue for networking vendors, a 6% increase year-to-year, TBR’s Enterprise Network Vendor Benchmark research showed.

“Customers are overhauling their networks with a focus on leveraging big data, enabling mobile productivity, and improving responsiveness and efficiency of the business,” Krista Macomber, a TBR data center analyst, said in an email interview. “As a result, customers are steadily deploying wireless LAN solutions.”

TBR estimates that wireless revenues tracked in its benchmark report grew 10.4% year-to-year in the first half of 2015, outpacing all other segments, she said.

While companies are increasingly interested in software-defined networking, most aren’t making wholesale migrations to SDN, Macomber said.

“Actual deployments are more incremental as customers avoid ripping and replacing existing hardware and test the benefits of the architecture in select workloads,” she said.

Still, the stage has been set for longer term transformation. “As more and more SDN-friendly technology becomes integrated into customers’ environments, the shelf life of hardware will further increase, demand for white-box switches will continue to rise, and software will become further abstracted from hardware as a key differentiator,” Macomber said.

Most of the interest in white-box networking gear today is coming from organizations that require massively scalable data centers, she said. They’re looking for cost efficiencies and increased network agility.

In addition to wireless networking, companies also spent money on network security and managed services in the first half of the year, according to Hampton, N.J.-based TBR.

Cisco & Huawei make gains

Macomber said Cisco remains the dominate enterprise networking market leader, with revenue in the first half of the year more than eight times larger than the runner-up, HP. TBR’s report showed that Cisco’s revenue grew 4.1% year-to-year to $10.8 billion in the first half of this year.

China-based Huawei continues to make inroads into the enterprise networking market, with more than 100% growth, reaching $904 million in revenue in the first half. Huawei’s investments in its channel programs and networking innovation that spans hardware and cloud-focused software are helping it make rapid gains in enterprise networking, Macomber said.

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The biggest change in the enterprise networking vendor landscape from the end of last year happened with HP’s acquisition of Aruba Networks in May, which made HP the second-largest WLAN provider by a large margin, she said.

Overall, SDN and general network transformation initiatives will splinter the networking vendor landscape, she said. While Cisco will remain a strong leader, rivals like Dell, HP and Huawei will loosen its hold over the market.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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