Cisco Systems' (Nasdaq: CSCO) current doldrums don't herald the end of the networking world. Signs of life abound today, including earnings from a trio of Cisco's networking rivals.

Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) reported $0.32 of first-quarter pro forma earnings, exactly matching analyst targets. Largest customer AT&T (NYSE: T) kept ordering Juniper gear for its next-generation voice and data networks, much to nervous analysts' relief. The stock has gained 21% over the last six months.

Meanwhile, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is working up new network standards alongside Chinese telecom giant China Mobile (NYSE: CHL). That partnership will surely lead to bulk orders of Alcatel equipment down the line, destined for the largest mobile network in the world. Alcatel-Lucent stock is up 7% on the joint research announcement, and it's absolutely crushed the market with 89% gains over the last three months.

Finisar (Nasdaq: FNSR) and other optical networking stocks are riding the good news from Juniper and Alcatel to modest gains of their own today. A rash of disappointing reports interrupted that upward trajectory as winter rolled into spring, including Finisar's own swing-and-a-miss. Nonetheless, Finisar has managed to beat the market over the last two quarters with a 36% gain.

Cisco has been beating the drum for higher bandwidth investments since, well, the beginning of time in Cisco terms. But it seems that its competition is picking up the lion's share of business these days.

It's always dangerous to dismiss a wounded giant entirely, but if Cisco wants to get back to its old, iconic status, CEO John Chambers sure has his work cut out for him.

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