LAN switch sales to soar in '05

LAN switch sales to soar in '05

This will be the year of widespread Ethernet LAN switch upgrades in business networks, as one research firm expects Ethernet sales will be the highest since 2000.

Dell'Oro Group estimates that total revenue in 2005 from Ethernet gear will reach US$14.6 billion, a 7 percent increase over the size of the market last year. This will also be the biggest year for Ethernet since the height of the tech bubble in 2000, when the market reached US$14.1 billion, but then shrank for three consecutive years after that.

The research firm says a new cycle of network upgrades, replacing gear that was put into corporate LANs more than five years ago, will drive the market growth. The last big Ethernet push was based on the evolution of faster Ethernet gear (from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet) but Dell'Oro Research Director Seamus Crehan says the coming Ethernet boom will be less about speeds and feeds.

"Customers are also looking for feature or intelligence upgrades to handle new requirements at the LAN edge, such as IP telephony, security" and wireless/wired LAN integration, Crehan says. Switches that can interact with anti-virus and intrusion detection systems - as well as gear that prioritizes VoIP traffic, or supports both copper and wireless Ethernet links are among these types of features, he adds.

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