Dell moves into enterprise networking

Following its entrance last September into the small and medium business networking market, Dell has announced its expansion into...

Following its entrance last September into the small and medium business networking market, Dell has announced its expansion into enterprise networking.

The move follows Dell's migration from PCs into servers, and Kim Crawford, the company's networking division vice-president, made it clear Dell plans to drive deeply into networking hardware with Layer 3 routers, 10-Gigabit Ethernet and possibly even chassis switches in the not-too-distant future.

Analysts say that the decision could mean lower prices for users. Dell's first two offerings, a Fast Ethernet switch with 48 ports with two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks, and a Gigabit Ethernet switch with 24 ports, are priced at $1,499 (£984) and $2,499 (£1,641), respectively.

"The market's so commoditised that price actually matters now," said Jason Smolek, an analyst at IDC.

He said that Dell's supply chain execution may mean that it could undersell its main competitors.

The switches will put Dell into direct competition with 3Com, which re-entered the enterprise market in March with a set of stackable switches.

Dell now comes head to head with Hewlett-Packard as a one-stop hardware vendor.

Dell has already expanded its networking sales and support to all of North and South America, and Crawford said it would extend them to the rest of the world before the end of the year.

Smolek said Dell would be likely to make early gains in the small-to-medium enterprise market but could, eventually, emerge as a serious threat to networking market leader Cisco. "Dell executes very well, and they have the ability to change the model for the market," he said.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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