Belgian network market remains the domain of Cisco and HPE (Aruba)

Fortinet registers highest growth, but at a distance

The Belgian market for network hardware is still strongly dominated by Cisco, with HPE (Aruba) at some distance. Cisco relinquishes the number 1 position to Fortinet only when it comes to hardware firewalls. Cisco network hardware can be found in 7 out of 10 Belgian business locations. HPE (including Aruba) networks can be found in nearly one third of business establishments. All other manufacturers are not found more frequently than in one out of ten locations. This is shown in a market analysis conducted by Computer Profile, a specialist in data driven marketing, where 2,500 decision-makers from Belgian organizations with more than fifty employees were questioned (public and commercial sector).

Cisco and HPE stable; Fortinet rises to 10% market penetration

Cisco’s position on the entire network market – switches, routers (hardware) firewalls and wireless – was still at 77% penetration rate of the target group, but has stabilized in recent years to just above 70%. Use for HPE (Aruba) during the period since 2012 has been about 32% to 33%. Fortinet has registered the clearest growth among the top five. Whereas we encountered network hardware from this vendor at 4% of the locations in 2012, that figure has more than doubled since to 10%. Juniper and WatchGuard have dropped a couple of percentage points in the same period.

A closer scrutiny of the market segment shows quite a number of other differences. For instance, the use of Cisco is clearly the highest at business locations of Multinationals. In the public domain and among medium-sized businesses (50-250 employees) Cisco is encountered relatively less frequently. These segments also have the most room for competition.


Switches are the most common form of network hardware. We come across them in ca. 94% of the locations and this percentage has been at about the same level for years. When all inventoried switches are counted, nearly half (49%) of them are Cisco switches and about 29% HPE (Aruba) switches. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprises (ALE) complements the top 3 with a 6% share, followed closely by Avaya with 5%. All others have a share smaller than 5%. The trend since 2012 shows that Cisco’s share dropped somewhat initially, but has remained pretty much the same in the last three years, while HPE (Aruba) has increased its share slightly in recent years.


Some 70% of the locations indicate that they use specific router hardware in 2018. This percentage has been dropping, because in 2012 more than 80% of the locations said that worked with routers. The vendor picture for routers is the most one-sided (among the different submarkets). Just under 80% of routers are Cisco routers. All other brands account for less than 5% of the total number of routers.

Proximus and Telenet: the odd ones out.

Proximus has a particular position. Based on the answers given by the respondents, ca. 5% of routers are Proximus routers. Proximus is not a hardware manufacturer, however, but supplies products from technology partners. Because Proximus has (had) several partners for network solutions, it is difficult to attribute the share indicated here to a specific manufacturer. The same applies for Telenet, as they are not a manufacturer either but essentially a provider of network services.

Hardware firewalls

Hardware firewalls are encountered the least frequently among the inventoried network components in absolute terms. Some 45% of the locations cited hardware in this field, whereas 6 years earlier this figure was 54%. The picture of the hardware used is varied here. Fortinet comes in first, as 20% of all hardware firewalls encountered are a Fortinet product. Cisco comes in second. But WatchGuard, Juniper, Check Point and Palo Alto also have a sizeable share in the total. The trendline in the last 6 years shows a clear increase for Fortinet and Palo Alto, a slight drop for Cisco and a drop for WatchGuard and Juniper.


Finally, we encounter wireless network hardware in ca. 72% of business locations. After a number of years of an increasing number of locations with WiFi hardware, this seems to have dropped slightly compared with the previous year (74% penetration).

58% of all WiFi systems encountered are a Cisco product. All other vendors have to contend with a decidedly smaller piece of the WiFi pie. HPE(Aruba) and Aerohive still stand clearly above the others with 10% and 9% of the total respectively. The trendline in recent years shows an increase in the installed base share for Cisco, HPE(Aruba), Aerohive and Ruckus.