Transition to faster architecture drives growth in global Ethernet market

Transition to faster architecture drives growth in global Ethernet market

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Greater demand from businesses for faster connectivity was one of the major drivers of the global Ethernet market last year, with both data centre and enterprise customers looking to invest in improved technologies.

This is according to research conducted by IHS Markit, which found overall revenue from Ethernet switches increased by eight per cent in 2017 compared with the previous year. In particular, the middle two quarters of the year showed double-digit growth, helping drive the market to almost $25 billion (£18.6 billion) for the year as a whole.

Matthias Machowinski, senior research director for enterprise networks and video at IHS Markit, said that the transition to 25/100GbE architectures in the data centre is "in full swing", which is driving significant gains in both 25Gbps and 100Gbps solutions. However, this is coming at the expense of 40Gbps technologies, which experienced their first annual decline in 2017.

IHS Markit described the growth of 100Gbps ports as "ferocious", noting it has increased fourfold over the past two years, reaching a global installed base of over four million ports in 2017. Over the same period, the market for 40Gbps ports fell by nine per cent.

IHS Markit also noted that the 25/100GbE segment should actually also include 50GbE ports, which until now has been a niche category. However, it forecast that interest in these solutions will take off once single-lane 50G technology becomes available, expected to be later in 2018.

Meanwhile, demand for cloud computing was cited as another driver of Ethernet switches. Mr Machowinski told Fierce Telecom: "If you look at the large data centre operators, many are expanding their data centre footprint in response to surging interest in cloud services. In addition, they need to upgrade their older facilities every two to three years".

Improving business confidence has also pushed up enterprise demand for faster, more up-to-date equipment, the research reported, while interest in Power over Ethernet technology is also on the rise, which Mr Machowinski said is another "sign of strengthening campus switching demand".

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