Sales of Ethernet switches, enterprise routers and wireless LAN equipment are expected to rise this year and beyond coming out of the recession, according to Infonetics Research.

The markets rebounded a bit in the second half of 2009 but were still down overall from 2008, the firm notes. Nonetheless, the Ethernet switch market grew 15% sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2009, to $4.2 billion. Port shipments grew 4%, Infonetics found.

Overall, customers opted for lower cost switches, which negatively impacted switch revenue growth. Surprisingly, sales of higher-priced chassis-based systems had the highest sequential growth within the market, Infonetics found. Worldwide revenue of 10G Ethernet switches grew 63% in 2009.

Ethernet switch market leader Cisco, which earlier this week introduced new switches, saw its revenue jump 19% sequentially in Q4. In enterprise routers, Cisco's unit share decreased by one point, while the company's revenue share increased by a point in 2009, Infonetics found.

Overall, worldwide enterprise router revenue was down 28% to just over $3 billion in 2009. 3Com was the only vendor to increase enterprise router revenue in 2009, Infonetics found.

Sequentially, Q4 router revenue was up 10% over Q3 to $821 million. Infonetics concludes that enterprise router sales are beginning to stabilise, with sales growing again sequentially and year-over-year declines shrinking. In WLANs, worldwide revenue was flat sequentially in Q4 at $571 million, but grew 16% compared to Q4 of 2008. For the full year, worldwide Wi-Fi network equipment revenue was down 6% compared to 2008.

WLAN growth in 2010 will be driven by increasing mobility in the enterprise, fixed-mobile convergence and wired/wireless LAN convergence. Cisco continues to lead the WLAN equipment market with 46% in both 2009 and Q4, followed by Aruba Networks, according to Infonetics.