Linksys a division of Cisco is set to kick off a wireless router price war by releasing a brand new 802.11N router that is up to $100 below Belkin whose Wireless Ni Vision router sells for over $280 and up to $300 in some stores.
Both Companies are now using design and sleek piano black finishes over traditional industrial design to sell their wireless offering. The big winner will be consumers who buy the new Linksys media extender and a new low cost Wireless N router say analysts. Another big advantage claim Linksys is that the new router has a “significant” speed advantage over the Belkin router.
Another problem for Belkin is that tey are not a networking Company with their success coming from looks more than being a pure networking Company like Cisco, Netgear or D-Link.
Set to be released in April the new router which is still under embargo in Australia has a piano black European developed design and is devoid of any wireless antennas. It will go on sale in Dick Smith in April and is currently before the Harvey Norman networking review panel. It is also set to be rolled out at several other mass market resellers.
IT market Analysts that SmartHouse have spoken to claim that this product will start a price war and is set to be one of the hottest wireless routers in the market because of price, design and claims that it can deliver better performance that most other N routers because of its antenna design.
According to GFK research D-Link have 50% of the wireless router market followed by Belkin with 22% and Netgear with 16%. Linksys have around 4%.
Graeme Reardon regional manager for Linksys said “This is a stunning new product that was developed by design groups in both Amsterdam and the USA. For resellers there is great margin despite the price being only $169 which is a new benchmark for a quality wireless router. This device when it goes on sale will be up to $200 cheaper than the current Belkin N router it will also deliver better performance and has no antennas which will appeal to many users”.
Kannyn MacRae the Country Manager for Belkin when told of the new product said after a long pregnant pause “We have no comment”.
Jamie Zhe a consumer/SMB market analyst at IDC said “This price will defiantly shake up the market. They are targeting Belkin with their design and shape. The Belkin strategy has been to sell on design and good looks however their offering is expensive and at $169 the Linksys product will work for them in the market.”
He added “The price is a clever strategy as they are currently rolling out a good media extender. Consumers want a media extender however they also need a Wireless N router to get the maximum performance. At these price resellers are likely to bundle a router and Linksys extender together in one package which for the consumer makes a lot of sense”.
Using a Company in Los Angeles called IDC Belkin who started life as a cable Company is redesigning network products made by OEM manufacturers in an effort to grab market share. They are doing the same with iPod accessories bags and FM tuners for iPods in cars.
Shipping free with the device is new software called the Linksys Easylink Advisor (LELA). This software which will soon be available as a download simplifies the set-up of a wireless network and helps users manage devices on the network. It also allows one to cut off intruders and manage downloads of driver and firmware upgrades to devices attached to the network.