Dell’Oro: Ethernet adapter port shipments declined in Q3-2021 but expected to grow in 2022

After declining in the 3rd quarter of 2021, Ethernet adapter port shipments are forecast to return to double-digit growth in 2022, as supply restrictions ease, and as Smart NICs create growth opportunities.

“Ethernet adapter port shipments declined 7% year-over-year in 3Q 2021, as vendors faced various component sourcing challenges, with lead-times extending beyond 52 weeks in some extreme cases,” said Baron Fung, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group.

“In contrast, Ethernet controller shipments have approached record levels, as we believe server vendors are increasing their inventories of controllers in anticipation of stronger cloud and enterprise demand ahead,” added Fung.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2021 Ethernet Controller and Adapter report include:

  • Total Ethernet controller and adapter revenue forecast to grow 27 percent in 2021.
  • Major cloud service providers are upgrading server connectivity to 100 and 200 Gbps port speeds in conjunction with network upgrades.
  • Smart NICs developed internally by cloud service providers, such as Amazon and Microsoft, for their data centers have accounted for the majority of the shipments.
  • Vendors such as Marvell and Nvidia, are expected to increase their share in 2022 as customer qualifications make progress.

“Outside of the hyperscale cloud service providers, the smartNIC market is still in its early stages,” Fung said, as customers explore viable use cases for them in their data centers.

Most adapter vendors today either offer smartNICs or are sampling them. Besides cloud providers, smartNIC vendors include Marvell, Intel, Xilinx, Nvidia, Napatech, Pensando, Fungible, Ethernity, and Broadcom. 

Most of them “are trying to grow their smartNIC share in the tier two cloud, enterprise, and telco segments,” Fung said.

About the Report

The Dell’Oro Group Ethernet Controller and Adapter Quarterly Report provide complete, in-depth coverage of the market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue; average selling prices; and unit and port shipments by speed (1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, 25 Gbps, 40 Gbps, 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps, and 200 Gbps) for Ethernet controllers and adapters. The report also covers Smart NIC controllers and adapters. To purchase this report, please contact us at [email protected].


Ethernet Adapter Shipments Stalled by Supply Constraints in 3Q 2021, According to Dell’Oro Group