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Cisco Leads Router Race

Cisco Systems has finished ahead of five other enterprise router makers in a new study released today.

In the study, Infonetics Research sought insight from 180 companies about how they evaluate and select routers and vendors. Besides Cisco, users rated 3Com , Adtran , Enterasys , Juniper and Nortel .

The overall ranking was based on a number of factors including, customer satisfaction, price, value, security, technology, management features, product roadmap, financial stability and service and support.

When asked which vendor they would buy from, Cisco topped the list, followed by Juniper. Despite Cisco's leading position, it fell short in the pricing and value categories, finishing behind 3Com, Adtran, Juniper and Nortel.

"Cisco's vulnerability in the pricing category increased this year, with all vendors but one outscoring them, and with Juniper outscoring them on value," Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst at Infonetics Research, said in a statement. "Still, Cisco continues to get the highest satisfaction marks overall -- almost double the votes than competitors."

Though Juniper scored well, Machowinski suspects that it won't overtake Cisco in the near term.

"Customers give them (Juniper) high marks on technology, security and value. Value is the only area where they outscore Cisco," Machowinski told internetnews.com. "They won't catch Cisco anytime soon, Cisco ships 68 percent of the units in the markets. Any market share battle will be about who can be the leading alternative to Cisco."

The desire to limit network downtime was cited as a the top reason for investing in new routers (71 percent), followed by security (68 percent), increasing network capacity (66 percent) and lowering operating cost (54 percent). Extending network life and enabling new applications rounded out the list with 53 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

Infonetics also said support for VoIP is becoming an important feature for routers. The top emerging technology trend though was about integration of traditionally separate security technologies (VPN, IDS, firewall) into routers themselves.

In an earlier report, Infonetics said revenues for enterprise routers during the first quarter of 2005 were $750 million, a 20 percent drop over the same period in 2004. Though revenue declined, shipments actually increased by 4 percent in a trend that Infonetics forecasts will result in 1.9 million units being shipped in 2008.

Figures improved in the second quarter of 2005, where total revenue was up up 4 percent to $791 million and units climbed 6 percent to 420,000, Machowinski said.



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