Since peaking above $43 a share in February and early March, QLogic (NASDAQ:QLGC) shares have a had a rough go of it. A generally weak Nasdaq and concerns about market conditions for storage network backbone manufacturers have combined to sour the market. Conservative guidance from QLogic last week was enough to push the stock down yet again.

At first glance, QLogic seems unfairly maligned. Revenue was up about 23% in the quarter, with core Fibre Channel product sales up 17.5%. For the quarter, operating margin expanded by nearly 2%, and operating income was up 33%. What's more, the company managed to surpass Wall Street estimates for the third quarter in a row.

Other popular metrics and statistics look strong as well. The GAAP net margin is nearly 28%, and the company boasts a mid-teen return on equity and assets. They also have a trailing P/E below 18 and a trailing EV-to-FCF below 13.

So what's the problem?

Well, do you remember the disk-drive market? Or the TV market? Or the radio market? Every one of these markets had boom times and high-quality companies, only to hit hard times when growth slowed down, products became increasingly commoditized, and growth and profitability became scarce.

Although customers like EMC (NYSE:EMC), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and Network Appliance (NASDAQ:NTAP) still appear have growth ahead, some of that growth may come from squeezing suppliers like QLogic. Investors have begun to believe that providers of the essential backbone of storage area network products -- whether QLogic or rival Emulex (NYSE:ELX) -- are companies with a great future in their past.

As I see it, this view seems at least partially realistic. While the storage network market isn't going to collapse or vanish, we're not going to see the kind of growth that we did five or six years ago. When hypergrowth slows down, valuation once again rears its ugly head. To that end, QLogic doesn't seem particularly expensive or especially cheap. The stock seems to be fairly priced, if future projections of low-teens growth are accurate.

Even though QLogic's high-quality customer roster, strong financial ratios, and clean balance sheet give the company an above-average chance of survival, it's hard to see the source that will fuel another sustained boom in business. Barring a revolutionary new product that would change the industry, investors who want to look at QLogic will need to exercise cold, calculating, Vulcan-style logic of their own. It's a good business at the right price, but only at the right price.

We've stored away some prior industry takes on our network as well:

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).