Despite their shared bandwidth and lack of filtering capabilities, hubs once dominated the networking market.
However, they gradually gave way to switches as the price of these devices fell, and are now only used in niche applications.
Research firm Dell’Oro lists Cisco, Nortel and Hewlett-Packard as the top three Ethernet switch vendors by sales in the first quarter of 2006.
The first router was actually a program running on a DEC minicomputer; only later did hardware routing appliances appear, with Cisco Systems a market leader.
Cisco’s first claim to fame was in multiprotocol routers, an area now largely irrelevant in today’s IP-dominated world.
Dell’Oro lists Cisco, Juniper Networks and Paris-based Alcatel as market leaders.