The worldwide Ethernet technology market grew 5% to $12.6 billion during 2005, driven by strong demand for Power-over-Ethernet and Gigabit switches.
However, the growth, profiled in a recent report by analyst group Gartner, was a sharp fall from the 24% recorded for 2004, when demand surged as organisations refreshed aging switches purchased in the build up to Y2K.
Gigabit Ethernet ports were in high demand, with sales rising 17% year-on-year to $7.8 billion. According to Gartner, vendors of ports based on the 10-Gigabit interconnect standard dropped their prices to vie for contracts from companies wishing to upgrade from Gigabit Ethernet to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. This led to a growth of 136% in 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports revenues during 2005.
Growth was also fuelled by Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches, which provide power as well as data over existing Ethernet cables, and which began to show substantial take-up thanks to their key role in IP telephony and wireless local area network deployments.
Cisco remained the behemoth of Ethernet switches, taking $9.5 billion from the market for the year and retaining over 75% of the overall market. Nortel Networks retained the number two position, although it lost market share to Hewlett-Packard (HP) and 3Com.
Ethernet switch vendors worldwide, revenue share 2005