Gigabit is now outselling 100Mbit Ethernet in some segments, while 10Gig Ethernet continues to show strong growth too, according to the latest figures from market researcher Dell'Oro Group.

The company says that, during the last three months of 2004, more modular Gigabit switch ports - a total of 3.4 million - were sold worldwide than modular Fast Ethernet ports. It adds that Cisco was the Gigabit market leader, followed by HP ProCurve, Nortel, Enterasys, Foundry and Extreme.

"The average per-port selling price of modular Gigabit is only twice that of modular Fast Ethernet, making the decision to upgrade a relatively easy one," said Seamus Crehan, Dell'Oro director of Ethernet switch research. "We believe much of the growth is driven by larger enterprises deploying modular Gigabit-over-Copper in wiring closets, which in turn drives demand for 10Gigabit to aggregate this traffic."

Leading on from this, Dell'Oro says the worldwide market for 10Gig routers increased by 66 percent during 2004, reaching just over $1.2 billion. It attributes most of the purchases to service providers investing in their core networks, but says that sales to enterprises also grew. Cisco was again the top vendor, ahead of Juniper.