The market for electronic- and optical-switching fabrics will grow from $1 billion in 2005 to $1.5 billion in 2008, according to a new report by Communications Industry Researchers (CIR-Charlottesville, VA). Growth will be driven by 10-Gigabit Ethernet deployments in enterprise and public carrier networking. However, the dominance of Ethernet is leading to a decline in the opportunities for TDM and cell-based switching fabrics. While some switch-fabric firms last year were scaling back plans for 10-Gbit/sec products, they may now be doing some rethinking.
With the focus of innovation moving up the protocol stack (e.g., voice over IP), switch-fabric manufacturers will try to distinguish themselves with rich quality of service feature sets, integrated SerDes, small footprints, improved multicast capabilities, reduced latency, and low power consumption. In addition, OEMs are looking for complete “processing packages,” including switching fabrics, network-processor units (NPUs), and traffic managers. So switching chip manufacturers must either supply this entire package, provide support/interfaces to popular NPUs, or form alliances with NPU manufacturers.
For more details on the report, “Switching Fabric Market Forecasts-2005,” visit www.cir-inc.com.