Early this year, Belkin announced it had acquired Cisco’s home networking division, including its people, technology and the Linksys brand, the latter of which Cisco had put into mothballs.
“Belkin has always has a business division right back from when company was founded, in which we assembled custom cables for resellers and installers,” said Mike Chen, VP of the Global Networking Division at Belkin.”We are now looking to take it to a greater scale with Linksys. What we are looking to do is bring back the Linksys heritage as a whole.”
While the Linksys brand is being formally targeted at the SMB market, Chen said that their business solutions focus is on the hundred seat and below market – the small business space. Chen also said that both the Belkin and Linksys brands will be used.
“The audiences for the two brands are very different,” he said. It’s not an issue of one being higher end than the other. Linksys is the prosumer market, and appeals to network administrators in the SMB space. Belkin is the more mainstream market, where ease of set up and management are important. So the target end users are different.”
Chen indicated that the Linksys business solutions are being brought back in three phases, of which the first is represented in the products being announced.
“This first phase is connectivity, helping small business owners connect their facilities with switches and access points,” he said.
The new unmanaged Desktop Gigabit Switches include 5, 8, 16 and 24-port versions and 8, 16 and 24-port versions that include Power over Ethernet. Features include Gigabit speeds, auto-sensing ports, power saving features and QoS Traffic Prioritization on the 16 and 24-port models.
The new Linksys LRT series of routers integrates Gigabit firewall, site to site VPN and various remote access VPN technologies into two single solutions. The LRT Series includes the Gigabit VPN Router and Dual WAN Gigabit VPN Router. These routers feature 4 Gigabit ports, up to 50 IPSec tunnels, and five OpenVPN tunnels.
“It’s phase two of our strategy where things get more interesting,” Chen said. “We can start to leverage the cloud to get some of the solutions together, and make management a lot simpler and more robust. Phase 3 will be leveraging technologies built for the connected home, and leverage it into the small business environment.” Phases 2 and 3 are further out, but Chen said they are likely to appear next year.
Linksys’ new line-up of unmanaged switches will be available this month through major distributors, including D&H, Ingram Micro and CDW. Pricing ranges from $49.99 to $229.99. The unmanaged PoE switches range in prices from $179.99 to $449.99. The latter model, the 24 port version, will be available at the end of this month. The Linksys Gigabit VPN Routers are planned for availability in early December. Pricing is $229.99 and $299.99.
“There still is a strong, loyal base of resellers who are dedicated to Linksys, and the response since the acquisition has been overwhelmingly positive,” Chen added. “We believe it will do well.”