Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the biggest maker of Internet equipment, Tuesday posted a quarterly profit that rose by 12 percent, helped by steady demand for its routers and other gear in key segments.

The strong results show Cisco continues to plug along, generating higher revenue and profits, yet investors said what Cisco needs to boost its stock is strong and consistent revenue growth above what it has been delivering.

"To really get the stock moving you're going to have to see growth accelerate," said Shawn Campbell, principal of Campbell Asnagement. "They're basically at peak operating metrics right now so the only way to get earnings growth is to get revenue growth."

Cisco's gross margin (search) — the percentage of revenue left after subtracting product costs — in the quarter was 68 percent, higher than the company's forecast for fourth-quarter gross margin of about 67 percent.

"Looks like Cisco met expectations, which is good, but you need it to exceed expectations to drive the stock and the market the next day," said Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co.

Cisco said net income for its fourth fiscal quarter ended July 30 rose to $1.54 billion, or 24 cents per share, from $1.38 billion, or 20 cents, a year ago.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $6.58 billion from $5.93 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding items, Cisco said it had a profit of 25 cents per share.

On that basis, analysts expected a profit of 24 cents per share, on average, within a range of 23 cents to 25 cents, on revenue of $6.56 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Cisco shares rose 36 cents, or 1.9 percent, to close at $19.61 on Nasdaq. In extended trade on Inet (search), the stock was little changed, at $19.65.