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D-Link Targets SMBs With Switches, Routers, Cloud Management

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D-Link joined the cloud buzzword bingo contest at Interop 2011 in Las Vegas, a UBM TechWeb event, with new SMB-focused switches, access points, and Wi-Fi routers that expose the Web-management GUI through a D-Link-operated service, greatly simplifying remote management of devices that often will be deployed in situations where local IT expertise is lacking. While this strategy opens up a new subscription revenue stream for D-Link, it offers in return remote network management capabilities that heretofore require complex configuration of VPNs and firewall rules.

The Insight management software is available in two versions: an entry-level Version that offers remote configuration, device tracking, and authentication, and a
deluxe model with full NAP-based (Microsoft Network Access Protection) enforcement of client security policies. Insight Basic comes bundled with D-Link's DES/DGS-1210 series Web Smart switches for one year, with a $50 annual subscription after that. Insight Plus runs $180 per year per switch.

The Insight portal is a SaaS offering managed by D-Link, meaning SMBs won't have to install an extra server, which they also are extending to other products announced at Interop. D-Link's CloudCommand offers similar remote Web management of APs, including the new DAP-3525 selectable dual-band 11n device supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE).

The DIR-605 Fuzion is an otherwise pedestrian 2x2 11n Wi-Fi router, with an interesting twist. Besides being manageable via a remote Web portal, which is called the Fuzion cloud service, these 5-port devices (one WAN, four LAN) can be paired to aggregate or failover WAN traffic through two different broadband sources. While an intriguing design, allowing small organizations to migrate into a dual-ISP environment by adding a second router, it seems D-Link's pricing could undercut the appeal for price conscious SMBs and SOHO customers. At $400 plus an annual $300 subscription for their threat protection and cloud management service, these are pricey when used in pairs given entry-level, dual-WAN UTM appliances from the likes of Fortinet, SonicWall and Watchguard in the $1,000 to $1,500 range.

While 10 Gbps Ethernet is the price of admission on the Interop show floor, catering as it does to large enterprises and service providers, D-Link is after much smaller, but more numerous game, where abundant, cheap, easily managed Gigabit ports are more important than raw switch throughput. Ken Loyd, director of product marketing for D-Link, sees their sweet spot in the smaller side of the SMB market, those companies with 25 to 100 users, limited by no internal IT staff and reliant on VARs for network design, configuration, and support. These customers will find D-Link's technology more than adequate and their price, easily administered features, and new remote management capabilities compelling.