Cisco Systems posted first quarter results that far exceeded Wall Street's expectations, though revenue and profits were down from a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter ending in October, the first of Cisco's fiscal year, was $9 billion (£5.45bn), compared to the $8.74 billion (£5.29bn) expected by financial analysts, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Likewise, earnings per share for the quarter came in $0.05 better than expected, at $0.36. The non-GAAP figure excludes expenses, charges and other one-time items.

Sales in the quarter were down 12.7 percent from a year earlier. The non-GAAP earnings per share were also down, by 14.3 percent. On a sequential basis, revenue was up 6 percent from the fourth quarter, while earnings per share were up 16 percent.

"Our Q1 results continued to reflect strong sequential growth trends that meet or exceed expectations during normal economic times," Cisco CEO John Chambers said in a statement. "We view the improving economic outlook, combined with solid execution on our growth strategy, as creating unparalleled opportunity to drive more value into the core of the network. Simply said, we believe that key market transitions across collaboration, virtualization and video will drive productivity and growth in network loads for the next decade, and are evolving even faster than expected.

"A new model of productivity based on collaboration is clearly emerging, and we believe this may be the most profound opportunity for businesses in our 25 years as a company," Chambers added.