Increasing demand of sophisticated security features to support wireless and converged voice/data networks is leading to a "shake up" in the global LAN switching market.
A newly released study from Infonetics Research found that, while cost leads the list of reasons respondents would change LAN switch manufacturers or add new ones, the need for improved security to support VoIP and wireless networking implementations is also cited as a crucial driver.
"As organisations seek to increase the security of their networks, and launch new technologies like voice over IP and wireless LANs, the requirements for LAN switches are changing," said Matthias Machowinski, author of the study and directing analyst with Infonetics Research.
"Integrated security and support for packet voice are the leading emerging technologies deployed with LAN switches, now and in 2006. Similarly, the companies we spoke to plan to double the percentage of switches with IPv6 and PoE capabilities between now and 2006."
Cisco was found to come out as the number-one LAN switch manufacturer when respondents rated manufacturers on everything from pricing, security, and financial stability to technology roadmaps, service and support, and overall satisfaction.
However, as Infonetics discovered in its recent study on routers, price is the one area where Cisco doesn't score much higher than the competition, showing some vulnerability.
The study, User Plans for LAN Switches, North America 2004, is based on interviews with network managers at 197 medium and large companies from six vertical markets (education, finance, government, health services, manufacturing, and retail). It examines their perceptions of manufacturers and products, how they select and evaluate manufacturers, reasons for switching to new manufacturers, and emerging technologies being deployed.
The data is cut by vertical market and company size, and includes scorecards with user ratings of 3Com, Cisco, Dell, Extreme, Foundry, Hewlett-Packard, and Nortel.