Cisco and the Cisco-owned Linksys Group last year were tops in SMB wireless market share and, separately, the pair also dominated. Despite this, other wireless networking vendors maintained a strong share of the market, with Netgear Inc., D-Link Systems and Trendware in the mix.
While D-Link dropped a fraction of a percentage point, the vendor is confident in its channel sales and its appeal to the SMB, which D-Link Executive Vice President Keith Karlsen said has grown.
"We're positioned as an alternative to Cisco," he said. "We know we can beat them at the edge."
Brad Faizy, president of Addison, Texas-based solution provider Tech On Web, agreed.
"A lot of times when we get requests for Cisco routers and switches, we offer D-Link as an alternative," Faizy said. "The price points D-Link offers are a no-brainer."
According to Faizy, D-Link's DIR-655 wireless router has consistently been among his best sellers for the past few years. And with DIR-655 based on the 802.11n draft, he expects D-Link's offering to continue beating out similar SMB products from Linksys, Netgear and Belkin.
"The DIR-655 is a great seller," he said. "We can't sell enough of them."
Linksys, for its part, said VARs are attracted to its solutions because of the breadth of its portfolio, which includes indoor and outdoor access points, IP cameras with embedded Wi-Fi and a host of other products.
"We offer a way to really tie together our products," said Ivor Diedrichs, product manager for the Linksys Connected Office Business Organization. "At the end of the day we're offering a custom SMB solution."
"We've built out our portfolio over the last two years focused on this specific space, the SMB," he said.
D-Link and others have done the same, building out their offerings for the SMB, while also capturing a portion of the enterprise market. As the economy continues to spiral toward instability, Karlsen said D-Link will continue to excel in the SMB space, building off of some of the popularity it generated in the consumer market.
"As the economy gets a little tighter, their budgets are going to feel that impact," he said. "SMBs can save money by going with D-Link at the edge and they can invest that savings in the core."
Over the past year, D-Link's bread and butter has been its indoor and outdoor access points, its SMB wireless routers and recent lines of wireless IP cameras. Karlsen added that growing trends like Power over Ethernet and 802.11n will further fuel sales.
That, on top of a recently reworked channel program that gives VARs boosted rebates and incentives, has D-Link confident that it will continue to be a strong competitor in the wireless space among SMBs and that the vendor will attract more and stronger partners.
"VARs are saying 'I'm confident I can make money selling D-Link solutions without competing against 15 others and getting only a 1 percent margin,'" Karlsen said.