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The past three years have been an unprecedented period of disruption in the semiconductor industry. The Covid pandemic and ensuing lockdowns shut down manufacturing, there were interruptions in shipping, and then the war in Ukraine adversely impacted supplies of critical raw materials.

The first half of 2022 saw 46% more supply chain disruptions than the first half of 2021, according to a research report released this fall by Resilinc, a supply chain resiliency company.

2023 looks like it might be a little bit better, in some sectors. Consumer demand, for example, is down due to inflation, rising interest rates and reprioritization of consumer spending. So networking equipment that serves both consumer and enterprise needs may become more widely available.

Meanwhile, enterprises are continuing to make strategic investments in order to support their work-from-home employees, business expansion plans, and digitization efforts, according to Gartner analyst Richard Gordon.

When it comes to some of the chips used in networking equipment, availability has improved, said Jason Bohrer, executive director at the Secure Technology Alliance, an industry group which counts several semiconductor manufacturers among its members. “They’re starting to see lead times come down,” he said. “But while the situation has improved, it’s not fully resolved.”

For chips that go into consumer electronics, lead times are no longer in the nine- to 12-month range, he said, but are more in the two- to three-month range.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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