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By | Richard Chirgwin 10th March 2016 05:01

WLAN sales closing in on wired Ethernet sales

Networks market outlook: boring with occasional squalls of routing excitement

The global Ethernet switch market has stirred and started tapping messages on the underside of its coffin-lid, according to prognosticator IDC, managing measurable growth in Q4 2015 rather than the of-late-usual shrinkage.

At US$6.4 billion, Q4 2015 exhibited an almost-beating heart, with more than 3.2 per cent growth compared to Q4 2014, and 5.1 per cent better than the third quarter of 2015.

Alas, full year 2015 remained anaemic: revenue growth was a disappointing 1.9 per cent compared to 2014.

The router market was far more pleasing, with Q4 2015 up 4 per cent year-on-year, 9.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and FY 2015 a fairly pleasing 5.6 per cent better than 2014.

Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America were all disappointing, something The Register has already observed in the storage market.

In order:

  • Europe – Q4 was 1.2 per cent down year-on-year;
  • Latin America – Q4 was down 2 per cent year-on-year, and if not for a 35.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter surge from Q3 to Q4, the year 2015 would have been utterly catastrophic.
  • Middle East and Africa – Q4 down 5.1 per cent. IDC manages to call Qatar a bright spot, instead of a hell-hole of corruption and slavery, merely because that dump's World Cup soccer infrastructure needs a bucket of new Ethernet switches.
  • Central and Eastern Europe – Managed to shed a stunning 18.3 per cent out of its Ethernet revenue in full-year 2015.

With Cisco standing at 60.7 per cent of the Ethernet switch market for 2015, the existence of other vendors has to be acknowledged but is barely worth reporting, since nobody else tops 10 per cent market share.

The WLAN market grew 5.9 per cent in 2015, IDC says. That's a far more contested market: Cisco finished the year with a mere 47 per cent market share, down from 47.8 per cent the year before.

Since The Borg reported wireless revenue of US$2.542 billion for 2015 (noting that its fiscal and IDC's calendar year are six months out-of-synch), the WLAN market is well on the way to catching Ethernet, at $U5.4 billion.

The combined Aruba and HPE business held 16.9 per cent of the WLAN market in 2015, and Ruckus stands at 6.9 per cent. ®

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