Linksys has kicked off a campaign to expand its share of the lucrative European small business networking market with a channel putsch and the launch of a low end VPN router offering.
The Cisco subsidiary's VAR accreditation, snappily-dubbed the Linksys Partner Connection Program, aims to sign up resellers by offering "special benefits", training, and tools that will help them sell the firm's kit to SOHO and Small Business customers.
Resellers who sign up via the Linksys VAR website will qualify for the incentives including additional discounts on some kit bought from authorised disties, special reseller-only deals, demo program pricing, sales training and marketing tools.
Special pricing, will also be made available for dealers selling into education and government end users.
These sweeteners are the first phase of the Linksys channel charm offensive. Phase II and III benefits and additional features will be rolled out later in the year - but only to resellers who have signed up for the initial offer.
David Kelly, Linksys director of sales, EMEA, said the SME channel programme will draw inspirations similar reseller schemes run by Cisco, but it will run autonomously from those of the parent company.
The company made it clear that its hearts and minds exercise is only targeting VARs: "Linksys is aiming to qualify network resellers that have a face-to-face selling model, provide pre and post sales to support their customers, provide networking design, configuration and troubleshooting for their customers, sell complementary products and obtain a significant portion of their overall revenues from sales of complementary products and services," the company said.
Linksys today began shipping the RV082 10/100 8-Port Virtual Private Network (VPN) Router, aimed at the SME/SOHO markets, for the first time in Europe.
The device, like any router, allows multiple office computers share a single broadband Internet connection, but the firm was keen to talk up its "unique" dual Internet port configuration which allow users to connect a second Internet line - in the event that they had one lying around - for backup connectivity. In addition to its routing functionality the unit has a built-in 8-port full-duplex 10/100 Ethernet switch and VPN support. ®