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


Synergy Research: Ethernet Switch & Router revenues drop to 7 year low in Q1-2020

Revenues from the Ethernet switch and router market fell 14 percent to a seven-year low of $9.1 billion in Q1 2020, according to Synergy Research Group.  Ethernet switches, enterprise routers and service provider routers all saw double digit declines in Q1-2020.

Ethernet switching is the largest of the three segments accounting for 62% of the total Q1 market. While GbE switches remain the largest segment in both fixed and modular Ethernet switches, the most notable feature of the market is the rapid deployment of 100 GbE and 25 GbE fixed switches. Both of these segments actually grew in the first quarter.

In Q1-2020, revenues from enterprise routers were down 15% from 2019, but on a trailing twelve month basis the market still grew thanks to strong numbers in the previous three quarters. Service Provider routers saw the biggest decline in the first quarter, down 19% from 2019. In Q1 North America remained the biggest region accounting for almost 40% of worldwide revenues, followed by APAC, EMEA and Latin America. In aggregate across all switch and router segments, year-on-year revenue declines were broadly similar across the major regions.

Comment from IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards veteran Geoff Thompson:

Revenue is deceptive in this market which has been characterized by falling prices per function for many years.   In a market where the dominant function is trunk switching  and higher speeds per lane are coming on line every year that is a very difficult ride.

You have to keep the functional volume growing enough to overcome both the price erosion per transistor and the higher cost efficiency of faster lanes as well as maintain your market share in order to grow your revenue. That is very, very tough.

Cisco’s market share in switches and routers was 51% in Q1, meaning that for eight of the last twelve quarters it has been over the 50% mark. Across the three main markets, Cisco’s Q1 share was 57% for Ethernet switches, 65% for enterprise routers and 35% for service provider routers. Behind Cisco the ranking of vendors was different in each of the three markets, but in aggregate Cisco is followed by Huawei, Nokia, Juniper, Arista Networks and HPE. Beyond this leading group, other active vendors include Ericsson, Extreme, H3C and ZTE.

S&R Q120

“In a market that is usually characterized by relative stability and predictability, the first quarter represented a sharp change from the norm, clearly as a result of COVID-19. In a pre-pandemic world we’d have expected total vendor revenues from switches and routers to have been a billion dollars higher that what we actually saw,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group.

“On balance the Q1 hit was driven more by supply chain issues rather than by soft demand. We’d expect supply chain problems to be resolved reasonably quickly, but demand is a different story. On the service provider side demand remains robust as network traffic continues to grow, but enterprise demand will be a much spottier picture and some sectors will take several months before returning to some form of normality.”



About Synergy Research Group

Synergy provides quarterly market sizing and segmentation data on networking, IT and cloud-related markets, including company revenues by segment and by region. Synergy Research Group ( ) helps marketing and strategic decision makers around the world via its unique insights and in-depth analytics.

To speak to an analyst or to find out more about how to access Synergy’s market data, please contact Heather Gallo @ [email protected] or at 775-852-3330 extension 101.

Press Release: