Gateway to enter networking equipment market

Gateway will enter the business networking equipment market by offering two wireless access point devices and nine Lan switches...

Gateway will enter the business networking equipment market by offering two wireless access point devices and nine Lan switches for use primarily by mid-sized businesses.

The products are priced to attract a range of businesses in a middle tier between consumers and larger corporations that might normally deal with Cisco Systems, said Chad McDonald, manager of Gateway's networking division.

One primary objective for Gateway in entering the networking market is to provide business customers with a well-rounded set of products, McDonald said.

The switches will come up against products from Dell, which has been in the switching marketplace for about three years, McDonald said. 

Gateway already sells servers and storage devices to businesses, as well as systems management software. More than half of Gateway's 2003 revenue of about $4bn (£2.7bn) came from professional products and services, said Ted Ladd, a company spokesman. 

Last year, Gateway formed a partnership with IBM to use its Global Services personnel to support business users' needs. Gateway has more than 1,000 of its own employees devoted to business support. 

The low-end switch will be the Gateway 7201-16, a 16-port, layer 2, rack-mounted, unmanaged switch capable of providing 100mbps wire speeds. It is priced at $79.

At the high end, Gateway will offer a 7601-48.2 switch for $799, which it compares with the Dell PowerConnect 3348 for $949. The Gateway 7601-48.2 is a managed switch with 24 ports with 10/100/1,000 wire speeds (up to 1gbps) which is capable of supporting 8,000 Ethernet devices.

The wireless access points include an 802.11g device for $299, and an 802.11a+g device for $399 which will be available on 13 April.

Management is contained within the devices, but Gateway is working to develop centralised wireless access point management for a future release. Both access points include two Lan ports for greater security. 

Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld

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