ISI Group Analyst Brian Marshall will also be paying close attention to Cisco's margins. "While CSCO's execution has improved over a prolonged industry downturn (e.g., streamlining costs, divestitures, product refreshes, etc.), the sustainability of gross margins in the low-60% range (e.g., within 61-62% target range) remains uncertain," he wrote, in a note released earlier this week.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) also poses a threat to Cisco's margin model, according to Marshall, although he feels that the company's efforts in the space will reap dividends.

SDN refers to a set of techniques for managing network traffic flows through software. Cisco is one of a number of companies, including rival HP ( HPQ), who are touting SDN technologies.

Cisco's guidance will also prove critical. "We expect roughly in-line results for Apr-13, but wouldn't be surprised to see a more cautious outlook for Jul-13," wrote Marshall, who has a 'cautious' rating on the stock. "While CSCO is trying to create a more stable, software/service-oriented business model, we believe gross margins in its core routing/switching businesses (~50% of revenue) remain under pressure."

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for fourth-quarter revenue of $12.48 billion and earnings of 51 cents a share.

Cisco shares, which have crept up 1.24% during the last 3 months, dipped 0.09% to $21.25 during Wednesday's trading.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:

If you liked this article you might like

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Becomes the Latest Tech Titan to Slash Jobs

7 Essential Rules for Investing in Tech Stocks

Tax Reform Is Coming and That Means Trump Stock Rally Is Ready to Kill It Again

'Trump Stock' Rally Is Back on Track

These Stocks Pay You to Own Them