The worldwide Ethernet switch market (Layer 2/3) recorded $6,29-billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), a healthy increase of 10.9% year over year, while routers saw $3,31-billion in revenue in 1Q18, a 1,4% decrease.

These rates are according to results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch Tracker and Worldwide Quarterly Router Tracker.

From a geographic perspective, the 1Q18 Ethernet switch market recorded its strongest growth in the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) region, which increased a solid 21% year over year. At a country level, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the largest market in APeJ, had the region’s most robust growth, rising 29,7% year over year to $769,8-million; Korea also posted strong 24,2% year-over-year growth. Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was another standout region, growing 19,5%, with Poland up a strong 39,6% and the region’s largest market, Russia, up 19,2%.

The Middle East & Africa (MEA) region recorded 11,7% growth, while the US, the world’s largest market, was up 7% year over year to $2,44-billion. The Latin America (LA) region’s growth continued to lag, up only 1,2%. Japan, meanwhile, dropped 2% year over year.

The Ethernet switch market’s 10,9% growth in 1Q18 is a strong uptick from the 3,5% growth recorded year over year between 1Q16 and 1Q17. The quarter’s growth also outpaced the full year 2017 growth of 5,5%, which bodes well for the market’s future outlook.

“After modest gains in 2017, the Ethernet switch market started 2018 with a strong first quarter,” says Rohit Mehra, vice-president: network infrastructure at IDC. “There are two macro trends that contributed to growth: the emergence of next-generation software-based network intelligence platforms that add to the intrinsic value of networking, and the push by large enterprises, hyperscalers, and service providers to leverage faster Ethernet switching speeds for cloud rollouts. Both trends bode well for this industry moving forward.”

10Gb Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) revenue increased 5,1%, coming in at $2,05-billion, while 10Gb Ethernet port shipments rose 41,6%. 40Gb Ethernet revenues were down 4% despite port shipments increasing 7,8%, reflecting ongoing price erosion in the market and unfavourable price performance ratios relative to 25Gb and 100Gb products. 25Gb revenue increased 176% year over year with port shipments growing 359% year over year in 1Q18.

100Gb revenue increased 83,8% year over year to $742,5-million and port shipments grew 117,7% year over year in 1Q18. 1Gb Ethernet revenues were up 5,4% in the quarter, with port shipments up 15,8%, which reverses a trend from last year and shows the interest in refreshing campus and branch networks.

Overall, across all speeds, port shipments in 1Q18 rose 12% year over year.

The worldwide enterprise and service provider router market contracted 1,4% on a year-over-year basis in 1Q18 with a decrease of 2,7% in the enterprise segment and a decrease of 0,9% in the larger service provider routing market.

The router market, traditionally the most volatile across the networking domain, has been impacted by the emergence of software-defined architectures that have taken hold across the WAN, with SD-WAN and network virtualization disrupting traditional routing architectures.

The combined enterprise and service provider router market saw varied regional performance in 1Q18. The APeJ region again significantly outperformed all other regions with its 13.3% year-over-year growth. Western Europe rose 2,6%, MEA grew 2,1%, and LA increased 1,3%. Other regions all declined on an annual basis. Japan’s market contracted a significant 35,5% year over year while the US market was down 11,4% year over year.

Cisco finished 1Q18 with a year-over-year increase of 7,6% in Ethernet switching revenues and a market share of 53,4%, down from its 55% share in 1Q17 and down from 58,9% in 1Q16.

In the hotly contested 10GbE segment, Cisco’s market share dropped to 48,1%, down from 50,9% in 1Q17, but up sequentially from 4Q17 when it stood at 47,6%.

Cisco saw its combined service provider and enterprise router revenue decrease 10,2% on an annualised basis, while its market share came in at 39,8% in 1Q18, down from 43,7% in 1Q17.

Huawei continued to perform well in both the Ethernet switch and the router markets on an annualized basis. Huawei’s Ethernet switch revenue grew 41,2% year over year in 1Q18 for a market share of 8,1%, up from 6,3% in 1Q17.

The company’s share in the 10GbE market continues to rise, up in 1Q18 to 10,7%, from 8,4% in 1Q17.

Huawei’s enterprise and SP router revenue increased 25,9% year over year to finish with 25,1% share compared to 19,8% of the total router market in 1Q17.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Ethernet switch revenue grew 11,1% from 1Q17 to 1Q18 and its market share held steady at 6% during that time.

Arista Networks performed well in 1Q18, with its Ethernet switching revenue rising 39,9% year over year, earning a market share of 6,5%, up from 5,1% in 1Q17.

Juniper’s Ethernet switch revenue fell 4,8% year over year in 1Q18, bringing its market share to 3,7% compared to 4,3% in 1Q17. Juniper also saw a 21,8% decrease in combined service provider and enterprise router revenues, with market share falling to 12,3% compared to 15,5% in 1Q17.

“Cloud and software-defined architectures are shaking up the Ethernet switch and router markets,” says Petr Jirovsky, research manager: worldwide networking trackers at IDC. “Continued price erosion and increasing divergence between buying preferences of cloud and communications service providers and enterprises creates a challenging environment for vendors, but also opportunity for end users.”