Infonetics & IDC: Worldwide Carrier Ethernet Switch & Router Results and Market Forecasts

Infonetics: Carrier Ethernet S/Rs down in last Quarter, but expected to grow 8.8% CAGR through 2017

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 1st quarter 2013 (1Q13) Service Provider Routers and Switches market share and forecasts report, which tracks IP edge and core routers and carrier Ethernet switches (CES).


 Pushed lower by weakness in Europe, global service provider router and switch revenues declined 17% in 1Q13 from 4Q12, and is down 6% from the year-ago quarter (1Q12).    North America was the only geographic region to buck the usually down Q1, posting a 7% sequential gain.    EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), Asia Pacific, and CALA (Caribbean and Latin America) all declined by double digits in 1Q13.    

Cisco maintains its strong hold on the #1 spot in the overall carrier router and switch market with 39% revenue share in 1Q13.   The competition for the next 3 positions in the carrier router and switch market remains tight, with less than 1 percentage point separating Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, and Juniper Networks. Alcatel-Lucent edged ahead of Huawei for 2nd place in 1Q13.    Private router company Compass-EOS recently announced NTT as a customer for its new core router that provides terabit-per-second connectivity to facilitate software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).

“The 1st quarter is normally down for routers and carrier Ethernet switches, so it’s better to look at the longer-term trends,” explains  Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “The main growth drivers – the transition from TDM to packet and rising video traffic – are still in effect, the U.S. economy is slowly improving, and a number of large operators in the Euro zone intend to spend.”   “Given these factors,” Howard adds, “We expect the router and Carrier Ethernet Switch market to grow at an 8.8% CAGR through 2017.”


Infonetics’ quarterly router and switch report provides worldwide, regional, China and Japan market share, market size, forecasts and trends for IP edge and core routers, carrier Ethernet switches and the IP edge market by application. Vendors: Alaxala, Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, Ciena, Cisco, Compass-EOS, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi Cable, Huawei, Juniper, NEC, Tellabs, ZTE, others.

Here’s a chart of the leading Carrier Ethernet switch/router vendors (Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Juniper, ZTE):

To buy report, contact Infonetics at:

Meanwhile, IDC reported that the worldwide Ethernet switch/router market (Layer 2/3) grew 2.1% year over year in 1Q13, while the worldwide router market decreased 7.9% year over year. 

From a geographic perspective, the first quarter results found the Ethernet switch market was particularly strong in China where it increased 10.6% year over year, followed by Central and Eastern Europe, which was up 10.3% year over year. As a region, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) came in with a 6.6% increase, while the United States also performed relatively well in 1Q13 with an increase of 3.5% year over year. Western Europe remained an area of weakness, declining 6.2% year over year. On a positive note for Western Europe, this was an improvement over the double-digit year-over-year declines experienced in 3Q12 and 4Q12.

“While 10GbE continues to drive the worldwide Ethernet switch market, it is interesting to note the increasing divergence in the performance of the overall market across the various regions, and in some cases, specific countries,” said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC. “While GbE is still expected to hold its own for the foreseeable future, we expect 10GbE and 40GbE to drive the wired infrastructure market forward in the coming years, both in the datacenter as well as campus core deployments. But as the market evolves, we should expect there will be pronounced market differences across the various theatres.”

10Gb Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) revenue increased 12.9% year over year to $1.87 billion while 10Gb Ethernet switch port shipments grew 37.6% year over year to 3.9 million ports in 1Q13. 10GbE continues to be the primary driver of the overall Ethernet switch market.

The worldwide Layer 4-7 switching market lost some momentum in 1Q13 and decreased 4.3% year over year. This was the first annual decline in more than three years.

The worldwide enterprise and service provider Router market declined 7.9% year over year and 13.0% sequentially in 1Q13. As with the Ethernet switch market, IDC saw very uneven performance across major geographies and countries this quarter. Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) actually grew 4.2% year over year in 1Q13 while North America and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions were down only low single digits on an annual basis. Elsewhere, Japan, Latin America, and Western Europe all declined by more than 20% year over year. Specifically, Japan fell by 24.8%, Latin America by 22.5%, and Western Europe by 20.5% year over year, each a significant market move by any standard.

From a vendor perspective, Cisco’s Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) market share in 1Q13 came in at 62.7% reflecting a year-over-year decrease from 64.1% in 1Q12, but a solid increase from 61.4% Cisco held in the previous quarter. Cisco’s market share in the fast growing 10GbE market segment was 66.7% in 1Q13.

An interactive graphic showing the relative market shares of the top 5 vendors in the worldwide Layer 2/3 Ethernet switch market over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on

“While enterprise mobility is no doubt an area of focus for IT and network managers, the underlying wired infrastructure is also continuing to get mindshare, both in the enterprise campus as well as the datacenter, especially as IT looks to improving the application experience for enterprise users,” said Petr Jirovsk√Ĺ, Senior Research Analyst in IDC’s Networking Trackers Group. “That said, the need to support a growing and diverse set of wired and wireless devices at the network edge will continue to keep the enterprise networking market relevant over the longer term.”

The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker provides total market size and vendor shares for the Ethernet switch and router technologies in an easy-to-use Excel pivot table format. The geographic coverage for both the Ethernet switch market and the router market includes eight major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Middle East and Africa) and 58 countries. The Ethernet switch market is further segmented by speed (100Mb, 1000Mb, 10Gb, 40Gb), form factor (fixed managed, fixed unmanaged, modular), and layer (L2, L3, L4-7). Measurement for the Ethernet switch market is provided in factory revenue, customer revenue, and port shipments. The router market is further split by product class (high-end, mid-range, low-end, SOHO) and deployment (service provider, enterprise) and the measurements are in factory revenue, customer revenue, and unit shipments.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine ([email protected]).