Infonetics: Little Change in Top Router/Switch Vendors Ranked by Carriers

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its recently published Router and Switch Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey, which explores service providers’ perceptions of edge router and carrier Ethernet switch (CES) manufacturers and their criteria for choosing vendors. 


 •Cisco, the long-term edge router/CES revenue market share leader, is also seen as the #1 edge router/CES manufacturer by operator respondents

•Carriers are looking for the best investment: Survey respondents ranked price-to-performance ratio the #1 criterion when selecting an edge router/CES vendor, followed by product reliability

•Surprisingly, financial stability was rated the least important selection criterion on average•When it comes to service provider familiarity with edge router/CES manufacturers, Tellabs and Brocade scored relatively high given their market share

“The top four vendors in global edge router and carrier Ethernet switch market share—Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent, and Huawei—are likewise viewed as the leading manufacturers of edge routers and CES by service providers participating in Infonetics’ just-published router/switch survey,” notes Michael Howard, Infonetics Research’s co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks. “There’s a big gap between these four and their competitors, and it just gets harder for any manufacturer who’s not already on top of the heap.” 

Author’s Note: The above quote implies that Juniper has regained the #2 spot from Alcatel-Lucent.  The Infonetics November 26, 2013 Router/Switch report ranked the top four vendors as follows:  “Cisco maintains its lead with 38%, Alcatel-Lucent regains 2nd place, Juniper holds #3, while Huawei drops to #4 on the 3Q13 global router/CES revenue share leaderboard.”




For its latest router/switch vendor leadership survey, Infonetics interviewed network equipment purchase-decision makers at 20 incumbent, independent wireless, competitive, and cable operators from EMEA, Asia Pacific, and North America. Together, the operators represent 36% of global telecom capex. The survey covers service providers’ familiarity with router and carrier Ethernet switch (CES) manufacturers, vendors installed and under evaluation, selection criteria, and their rankings of vendors’ technology innovation, product reliability, management software, security, pricing, price-to-performance ratio, service and support, product roadmap, and financial stability.

To buy the survey, contact Infonetics:

Carrier Ethernet switches (CE switches or CES) are designed for use in service provider networks, primarily for access/aggregation; may have routing functions.

Service provider routers route IP (supporting RIP, BGP, ISIS, and OSPF), support IETF MPLS and PWE3 (Pseudowire Emulation Edge to Edge) services.

For the router/CES data network, we use the terms: access (to buildings, consumers, DSLAMs, cellsites), which feeds up into the aggregation, which connects to the metro core data network.

We use 10GE/40GE/100GE to refer to Ethernet interfaces at speeds of 10G, 40G, and 100G.

NFV (network functions virtualization) is the use of network functions software running on COTS standard servers rather than on special built network products for on-net services, such as CDN, IMS,EPC, DPI, firewall, IDS, spam filter, and turbo charge downloads.

Packet-optical platforms are packet-optical transport systems (P-OTS) that have an architecture that provides all of the following:

  • Optical transport features including WDM and ROADM
  • Optical circuit switching (SONET/SDH crossconnect and/or OTN) across the chassis
  • Support for both optical and layer 2 restoration
  • Ethernet switching, including support for connection oriented Ethernet (COE) protocols (e.g.,MPLS-TP, PBB-TE, T-MPLS, switched VLANs) and carrier grade per-flow traffic management

Multi-layer data/transport control plane: combines the control planes of Layer3/Layer2routing/switching equipment with layer 0 (?) and layer 1 transport equipment.

Related: Michael Howard’s Dec 27, 2013 quotes:

“Service providers and vendors have been talking about how to use more optical transport withessential packet functionality to serve as the transport vehicle for packet traffic as an alternativeto routers. Our latest routing strategies study confirms that major changes are underway incarrier networks, with 75% of the operators we talked to using P-OTS (packet-optical transport systems) now or planning to by 2016.”

Howard adds: “Carriers are very interested in 100GE as well. We asked at what price they would buy 100GE for different applications — data center connections, aggregation, core, etc. — and by when. Some operators are already paying 15 times the price of 10GE for 100GE because theyneed it now, and we found that some operators are willing to pay more for 100GE for specificparts of their networks; for example, over a third are willing to pay a premium for routes with lowfiber availability. Still, most carriers will wait until 100GE pricing comes down to 10 times 10GE orlower, so it behooves manufacturers to continue developments that lower the price of 100GE.”