Cisco Still Tops, But Juniper Advances In Router Market - InformationWeek

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Cisco Still Tops, But Juniper Advances In Router Market

Cisco Systems maintains its strong grip on the enterprise router market, but Juniper Networks has come virtually out of nowhere to capture the second place position, according to a poll of users released Friday by Infonetics Research.

Cisco Systems maintains its strong grip on the enterprise router market, but Juniper Networks has come virtually out of nowhere to capture the second place position, according to a poll of users released Friday by Infonetics Research.

"People are very satisfied with Cisco," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst of Infonetics Enterprise Voice and Data unit. "Cisco continues to get the highest satisfaction marks overall -- almost double the votes than competitors. We found that 86 percent had Cisco on their short list. Eight percent had Juniper."

In spite of Cisco's overwhelming dominance of the market, Machowinski said the company shows signs of vulnerability in pricing, with most of the other vendors in the survey outscoring Cisco in this area. "More importantly," the analyst said, "companies are not all that likely to change router vendors; in fact, they'll avoid it if at all possible."

Machowinski said the enterprise router market is "fairly stagnant" with $1.3 billion annual revenues. He forecasts the market will grow to $1.5 billion in 2008. In addition to Cisco and Juniper, Infonetics reviewed user perceptions of 3Com, Adtran, and Nortel.

He said Juniper, a longtime service provider, appears to have been effectively propelled into the second place position by its acquisition of NetScreen and the latter's strength in security and firewalls.

According to the report, entitled "User Plans for Routers, North America 2005", Cisco appears to have a near stranglehold on the high-end of the market, but there may be some slim openings in the mid and lower ends of the market. "A lot of companies are trying to undercut Cisco in the low and mid range," Machowinski said.

Infonetics also found that users are increasingly looking for VoIP support as a critical feature in routers, while the strongest emerging technology trend is users' interest in integrating security features like firewalls, IDS (intrusion detection systems), and VPNs.

The major criteria users cite in selecting routers are adherence to standards, management features, and high availability, the market research firm noted.

While Juniper suddenly emerged on the user "short list", Nortel Networks remained in second position in the installed equipment category.

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