Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of long-distance networking specialist Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD) connected with investors today, jumping as high as 17.5% on above-average trading volume.

So what: Riverbed just announced preliminary first-quarter sales of at least $163 million and pro forma earnings in the neighborhood of $0.19 per share, beating analyst targets on both counts. The market has yet to decided whether Riverbed is signaling generally good times for the networking sector or simply stealing share from its rivals: Chief competitors Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) are trading sort of sideways today.

Now what: Here's what I think: Riverbed's network efficiency tools are a perfect fit for our budget-conscious times. Yes, bandwidth is becoming scarce all over the place, but throwing cash after the problem with big buys of Cisco gear no longer looks like the only obvious solution. If Riverbed's success is a sign of anything else, it'd be a positive signal for fellow efficiency experts Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) and Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW).

Interested in more info on Riverbed Technology? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Juniper Networks is a Motley Fool Big Short short-sale selection. Akamai Technologies and Riverbed Technology are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Alpha LLC has opened a short position on Juniper Networks. Motley Fool Alpha LLC owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.