Users look to buy more LAN switches in 2006

Users look to buy more LAN switches in 2006

For LAN switch buyers, standards-compliance and price/performance are key aspects for IT professionals when choosing a vendor, according to a recent survey.

Infonetics Research surveyed LAN switch buyers at 180 organizations, with an average workforce of 25,000 employees, about their LAN-switch buying plans. The study found that users expect to boost the amount of money they spend on switches next year by 35 percent, with an average LAN switch spend of around US$711,000 in 2006.

The requirements for upgrading and adding LAN ports varied among the types of companies surveyed. For instance, healthcare organizations are seeking more bits per second per-port in their upgrades, as higher-bandwidth applications such as digital radiology imaging are used more in hospitals. Retailers said they just need more ports for basic connectivity as they add new employees and store locations.

Seventy percent of the organizations said that standards compliance in a LAN switch is a key attribute they look for when buying gear.

While Cisco was the dominant brand installed in networks, survey respondents ranked the vendor below 3Com, Dell and HP ProCurve in terms of price/performance.

"Cisco's price-to-performance score has dropped since last year, which could spell trouble in the future if users one day feel that Cisco does not provide the overall value it once did," says Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst, Enterprise Voice and Data for Infonetics Research.

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