Secure Router Market More than Doubled in 2005

Cisco leads the pack as demand soars and prices fall.

At the heart of every enterprise's connection to the Internet is a router. It's one of the most fundamental components of networking technologies, and the market is still growing, at least in terms of unit shipments.

According to Infonetics Research, the global enterprise market shipped 14 percent more routers in 2005 than 2004. Despite that growth, pricing pressures actually caused a 3 percent decline in overall revenues to $3.3 billion, down from $3.4 billion in 2004.

Growth in the secure router segment, both in terms of units and revenues, was positive. Secure router revenues on a year-over-year basis grew by 121 percent to $803 million in 2005; shipments nearly tripled.

Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics, said the difference between a secure and insecure router is that the former has some form of included firewall or encryption capability built in.

Branch offices, as opposed to central headquarters, are the most likely candidates to deploy secure routers. Machowinski commented that secure routers allow branch offices with limited resources to converge services onto one box, providing ease of management.

"At headquarters, enterprises are more likely to keep security separate and use purpose-built appliances," Machowinski told "Typically, it's a performance issue."

It could also just be an issue of inertia, because enterprises have traditionally deployed separate security and routing appliances.

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