Linksys Responds To SMB Needs To Gigabit Switches

The unveiling of Linksys' new Gigabit switch, which is priced starting at about $35 per port, comes in response to requests from resellers and small businesses for "speed, affordability and ease of use," said Allen Powell, director of channel sales at Linksys, Irvine, Calif.


>> Five-port unmanaged desktop Gigabit switch: $199
>> Eight-port unmanaged desktop Gigabit switch: $279
>> 16-port unmanaged rackmount Gigabit switch: $959
>> 24-port unmanaged rackmount Gigabit switch: $1,499

Moving Gigabit switch technology to the desktop increases remote and small offices' level of performance for a wider variety of applications, including file transfers, databases and gaming, Powell said.

Linksys, an SMB-focused division of networking vendor Cisco Systems, released five- and eight-port unmanaged desktop Gigabit switches, priced at $199 and $279, respectively.

Linksys also unveiled two unmanaged rackmount Gigabit switches. The 16-port product costs $959, and the 24-port offering is priced at $1,499.

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According to a July report issued by research firm In-Stat/MDR, Gigabit Ethernet and Layer 3 switches are the products to watch in the LAN market over the next few years.

While the average price per port is dropping, customers are looking for faster switches with enhanced features. And as those prices drop, tools previously available only to large businesses will become accessible to the SMB space, In-Stat said.

Jeff Loomer, sales manager at Level Computers, a Fullerton, Calif.-based solution provider, said he hasn't yet seen much interest in these switches from his customer base, which consists mostly of retail companies. At this time, wireless switches and routers are the hottest products.

But that could change. "More and more customers are recognizing that [Gigabit switches] are something they can use," Loomer said. "A lot of companies are building their own servers and hosting them themselves, so they need a faster line, which is why [they'd] go with fiber or Gigabit."

Linksys also unveiled a partner promotion dubbed "Just the Ticket." Starting this week, eligible partners can earn ticket points for selling Linksys unmanaged Ethernet and Gigabit switches. Partners earn points for each switch sold during the promotion period. In January 2004, the points can be converted to dollars on a prepaid Visa card, Linksys said.