Leading vendors have condemned Cabletron?s latest attempt to take on the switching market as a futile exercise that will deprive resellers of extra margin on peripherals.
According to Bay Networks and 3Com, Cabletron?s Smartswitch 2100, an integrated hub and switching unit, is inflexible, has limited scope for upgrades and is not strong enough to penetrate the market.
Trevor Dearing, product marketing manager at Bay, conceded that the Smartswitch 2100 sounded interesting, but added: ?It doesn?t sound great for the reseller ? how do you upgrade it??
In terms of taking on Bay?s stackable switching products, Dearing said: ?The beauty of stacking is that the customer will come back. It is the repeat business that is the question.?
Andy Berry, product marketing manager at 3Com, agreed that Cabletron?s product would not generate return custom for resellers. ?It is essentially a fixed configuration,? said Berry. ?When you are not providing new technology, it is not a good story.?
But Chris Gabriel, product marketing manager at Cabletron, said: ?The product reduces add-on peripherals, but Vars will be selling up to high-end product.? He pointed out that resellers would be able to gain margin on the cables that are needed with the Smartswitch 2100.
He added that the self-contained nature of the product would save storage space and be a cheaper option than a stackable system. ?Hopefully the competition will follow us, but no one has released a product like this,? said Gabriel.
Berry hit back and said: ?Cabletron are coming from nowhere ? it is not seen as this type of vendor.?
Last week, Cabletron founder Rod Levine passed the mantle of president and CEO to former Nynex senior officer Don Reed, as the US company attempts to break into the burgeoning telecoms market. Levine will retire in December (PC Dealer, 13 August).
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