The worldwide Ethernet switch market reached $5.36 billion in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), representing a 4.4% year-over-year decline compared to the very strong 3Q11. Meanwhile, the worldwide router market declined 0.2% year over year in 3Q12, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker. The 3Q12 results also show that the Ethernet switch market increased in the mid to high single digit range, year over year, in Latin America, Japan, Central & Eastern Europe, and Middle East & Africa (MEA). On the other hand, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) was down overall with the market declining 3.5% year over year, whereas the U.S. declined 6.4% and Western Europe decreased more significantly just over 10% year over year in 3Q12. "The surprising decline in the Ethernet switch market after several quarters of positive growth is a result of several factors, but the highlight was that the slower growth in the 10GbE core segment of the market could not completely offset the decline in the network edge/access segment," said Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure at IDC. "10 GbE along with the emerging 40 GbE Ethernet switch segments are the ones to watch as growth in virtualized applications and converged infrastructure will continue to drive the need for advanced networks in datacenter buildouts." 10 GbE switch (Layer 2/3) revenue increased 10.7% year over year while 10 GbE port shipments grew a remarkable 61.4% year over year to just under 3.5 million ports in 3Q12, and continue to be the main driver of the overall Ethernet switch market. The Layer 4-7 switching market worldwide grew at 6.9% year over year to reach $414.9 million in 3Q12. The worldwide Router market was essentially staying flat in 3Q12, declining 0.2% year over year. Regionally, the market saw a very strong 21.5% growth in Middle East & Africa and solid mid to high single digit increases were experienced in Asia/Pacific (including Japan) and the U.S. On the other hand, Central & Eastern Europe was down 8.7% year over year, Latin America declined 12.2% year over year, and Western Europe dropped a very significant 20.8% year over year in 3Q12. From a vendor perspective, Cisco's Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) market share in 3Q12 came in at 62.2%, reflecting a year-over-year decrease from 65.6% in 3Q11. Cisco's market share in the fast growing 10GbE market segment stands at 68.5% in 3Q12. "While on the one hand the overall market suffered from increased macroeconomic uncertainty and weakness in the public sector in many regions, the year-over-year comparisons were harder this time around because of the stronger performance of the market in the same period last year," said Petr Jirovský, senior research analyst in IDC's Networking Trackers Group. "That said, the overall market drivers, such as proliferation of video traffic on the network, and the need to support mobility and BYOD at the network edge will continue to keep the enterprise networking market relevant over the longer term." The IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch and Router Tracker provides total market size and vendor shares for the Ethernet switch and router technologies in an easy-to-use Excel pivot table format. The geographic coverage for both the Ethernet switch market and the router market includes eight major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Middle East and Africa) and 58 countries. The Ethernet switch market is further segmented by speed (100Mb, 1000Mb, 10Gb, 40Gb), form factor (fixed managed, fixed unmanaged, modular), and layer (L2, L3, L4-7). Measurement for the Ethernet switch market is provided in factory revenue, customer revenue, and port shipments. The router market is further split by product class (high-end, mid-range, low-end, SOHO) and deployment (service provider, enterprise) and the measurements are in factory revenue, customer revenue, and unit shipments.