Linksys is set to ship a dual-band router that supports the 802.1x security protocol. The networking hardware vendor also is developing multiple wireless VPN applications, said Glen McLaughlin, senior director of sales.
"We are seeing significant interest from VARs serving the SOHO and SMB spaces for [802.1x authentication security, which makes it very hard to log on to a network without an appropriate password," McLaughlin said.
Customer interest has centered on Linksys' wireless DSL/cable router with a four-port switch, solution providers said, adding that users have become more concerned about wireless security. "We serve the medical industry, and when we mention wireless security solutions, most people say it's about time that someone started to address this issue," said Stella Hartono, president of Advanced Technology Solutions, an Anaheim, Calif.-based systems integrator.
Linksys has traditionally focused its delivery strategy on retail stores, but now the company is firming up its channel program as it targets new products at solution providers, said Allen Powell, senior channel manager at Linksys, based here.
To avoid conflicts, Linksys has developed a pricing policy that doesn't allow retail stores to undercut VARs, Powell said. In many cases, Linksys sends services leads to VARs, since retail outlets often can't fulfill those needs, he said.
Called VAR Connections, the channel program is open to any solution provider that buys products from Ingram Micro, Tech Data or D&H Distributing. Linksys assigns the partner a dedicated sales representative and provides a phone number for level-two technical support and access to exclusive promotions and rebates, Powell said.
"So far, every time I or one of my customers called Linksys with a support problem, they got back to the customer that day or at least within 24 hours," said Jeff Loomer, sales manager at Level Computers, a Fullerton, Calif.-based wholesale distributor.