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SDN is Leading Carrier Router/Switch Market into a Period of Hesitation, Reports Infonetics’ Michael Howard

Market research firm Infonetics Research released vendor market share and preliminary analysis from its 4th quarter 2013 (4Q13) and year-end Service Provider Routers and Switches report.


“Major change is in the air as carriers of all sizes proceed cautiously with router and switch spending, in part because they are trialing SDN (software-defined networking) or just beginning to figure out how to proceed with SDN,” says Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “The fourth quarter is usually an indicator for the current year and sometimes a bellwether for the future. In the most recent quarter (4Q13), North America had a double-digit sequential decline in carrier router/switch revenue rather than the usual budget flush, with weakness coming mostly from Verizon and AT&T, among the global leaders of SDN activities.”


  • In 2013, worldwide service provider router and switch revenue—including IP edge and core routers and carrier Ethernet switches (CES)—was $14.5 billion, up just 2% from 2012
  • 4Q13 carrier router/switch revenue is down 4% from the same period a year ago
  • Prompted by the move to 100GE, the core router refresh is still mildly in motion: Core routers are up 3.3% for the full year 2013, but flat quarter-over-quarter (4Q13 from 3Q13)
  • There is intensifying focus on multiple content delivery networks (CDNs) and smart traffic management across routes, aimed at making routers and optical gear cooperate more closely
  • The top 4 manufacturers – Cisco, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, and Juniper stayed in dominant positions in 2013, together taking 83% of global carrier router and switch revenue
  • Over the past 2 years, Huawei has increased its market share the most of any vendor
  • With SDN hesitation slowing router and CES spending, Infonetics now expects worldwide service provider router and switch revenue to grow at a low single-digit CAGR from 2013 to 2018, when it will reach $17.2 billion


Join analyst Michael Howard March 18 for SDN and NFV: The Nitty Gritty, a live event that takes a practical look at the requirements for SDN/NFV deployments and the lessons to be learned from live carrier network deployments to date. Learn more and register at:


Infonetics’ quarterly service provider router and switch report provides worldwide, regional, China, and Japan market share, market size, forecasts through 2018, analysis, and trends for IP edge and core routers, carrier Ethernet switches, and the IP edge market by application. Vendors tracked include Alaxala, Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, Juniper, NEC, Tellabs, ZTE, and others. To buy the report, contact Infonetics:



Download Infonetics’ 2014 market research brochure, publication calendar, events brochure, report highlights, tables of contents, and more at


Visit to register for upcoming webinars, view recent webinars on demand, or learn about sponsoring a webinar.

  • SDN and NFV: The Nitty Gritty (Mar. 18: Attend)
  • NFV: An Easier Initial Target Than SDN? (June 19: Sponsor)
  • Making Your Network Run Hotter With SDN (2H14: Sponsor)
  • SDN and NFV Roundup of Trials and Deployments (2H14: Sponsor)


N. America (West), Asia Pacific: Larry Howard, [email protected], +1 408-583-3335

N. America (East, Midwest), L. America: Scott Coyne, [email protected], +1 408-583-3395

EMEA, India, Singapore: George Stojsavljevic, [email protected], +44 755-488-1623

Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan:


Infonetics Research ( is an international market research and consulting firm serving the communications industry since 1990. A leader in defining and tracking emerging and established technologies in all world regions, Infonetics helps clients plan, strategize, and compete effectively. View Infonetics’ About Us slides at

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