Linksys back in the SMB with new unmanaged switches, VPN routers

After a two-year hiatus from the small to mid-sized (SMB) market, Linksys is reentering the space with a slew of new products, this time with the backing of Belkin International Inc.

Originally a subsidiary of Cisco Systems Inc., Cisco sold Linksys to Belkin in January 2013, giving Belkin about 30 per cent of the home and SMB networking market. Now Linksys is making a play to SMBs with seven new unmanaged switches and two new virtual private network (VPN) routers, with the company touting this as its first product suite from the Linksys Business series.

For the new unmanaged desktop gigabit switches, Linksys will be launching five, eight, 16, and 25-port versions. It will also have eight, 16, and 24-port versions with power over ethernet capability. These unmanaged switches will feature gigabit speeds and auto-sensing ports, as well as features designed to save on power like an auto power-down on unused ports, plus a port status switch to control LED lights.

(Image: Linksys). Linksys unmanaged switch.
(Image: Linksys). Linksys unmanaged switch.

It also allows for quality of service traffic prioritization on the 16 and 24-port unmanaged switches, plus the ability to connect to access points or video surveillance solutions for its PoE models.

For its routers, Linksys is offering two models – the Gigabit VPN router, and the Dual WAN Gigabit VPN router. They feature four gigabit ports, up to 150 IPSec tunnels, five OpenVPN tunnels, an integrated firewall supporting URL filtering and access rules, and 802.1q VLAN tagging.

They also feature port forwarding, port triggering, and port address translation for up to 30 devices, as well a DMZ port, a DHCP server, and DNS. The Dual WAN Gigabit VPN router comes with the added extra of dual-WAN load balance and WAN failover.

(Image: Linksys). Linksys VPN router.
(Image: Linksys). Linksys VPN router.

Linksys launched a wireless router and and a USB adapter back in September, unveiling them at IFA 2013 in Berlin. But this is the first full line targeted as SMBs, said Ben Thacker, Belkin’s global vice-president of enterprise business, in a press release.

“It’s with our commitment to honour the Linksys heritage by entering back into the SMB space to target SMB businesses and resellers with solutions that are purpose-built for SMB environments,” Thacker said in a statement.

“Our competitive advantage is our solid 20-plus years of experience in the SMB space and we understand customers, resellers and partners want quality products with high performance while servicing them to help grow their business. Our line-up of switches and VPN routers is the first in a series of high performance business networking and security solutions to come from Linksys.”

The Linksys unmanaged switches will be made available later this month through distributors like D&HIngram Micro Inc., and CDW Canada Inc., while the new routers should be released in early December.

Pricing for the unmanaged switches ranges from about $50 to $230, while the unmanaged switches with PoE functionality start at around $180 and run up to $450. The Gigabit VPN router is about $230, while the Dual WAN Gigabit VPN router is set at about $300.

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