It won't come as a surprise to anyone, but LAN switching was the big growth market last year, according to IDC's final 1997 figures.
"It was the stand-out performer, with growth in excess of 80 per cent," said IDC market analyst for Internet and networking, Tim Sheedy. "IDC expects it will continue to show strong growth due to the clear operational and financial benefits that switches offer over hubs and routers within the LAN environment. As a result of this, the hubs market will continue to lose ground. Routers will also lose ground in the long term," he said.
Switching will largely be responsible for the compound annual growth of the LAN hardware market exceeding 11 per cent over the next five years, he said.
The overall LAN market grew by more than 21 per cent in 1997. However IDC warned that this number was inflated by the exchange rate variations "which have plagued Australia and much of the region throughout the year", the IDC report said.
The hub segment has been the hardest hit by competition, according to Sheedy, with second-tier vendors losing share badly. "The same trend was also observed in the NIC segment, where second-tier vendors again lost market share to first tier vendors."
The NIC market dropped by 21 per cent in 1997, however Sheedy expects it will recover by the 1999 because of increased penetration of high speed technologies like ATM and Gigabit Ethernet.