Reliability and performance are top network priorities

In a recent survey of Information Week readers, which rated the top networking vendors, Cisco came out first, getting top spot for performance, reliability and stability. Interestingly price was not given as one of the top three criteria, which proves, as far as corporate networks are concerned , that cost is not the deciding factor.

The importance of networks has been growing exponentially as firms become more intricately linked with one another. Voice over IP, instant messaging, CRM, content management and wireless technology are increasingly becoming vital to a modern, technology-driven economy.

HP, 3Com and Nortel completed the quartet of top networking vendors. Second-place HP came in as a mild surprise, as the PC behemoth is better known for its printers than for its networking range. Nonetheless, HP has made great strides lately and is attacking Cisco where the network giant is the weakest – price.

There’s good news for everyone, though, as most respondents were prepared to spend more, or significantly more, on networks than they ever have, with VoIP, wireless and increased bandwidth demands cited as their main reasons.

Another significant feature that set for more coverage is security, with malware and organised crime setting their sights on networks. The SANS Institute for example points to the fact that Cisco's Internetwork Operating System, whilst powering nearly 85% of the global Internet’s pipes, has a number of vulnerabilities, forming an easily identifiable target.

And the £300m acquisition of security outfit Tipping point by network giant 3Com shows that the networking sector, like the software industry, is moving to make security a top priority in 2006/2007.