The networking industry claims to be unruffled by the launches of Dell's network switching range in Europe, which sees Dell offering the same sales and support model as its PC and server range.
Dell's rivals describe the threat minimal with the value add support and services differentiating it from Dell's low cost offering.
The PowerConnect range of layer two local area network (LAN) switches will connect PCs and servers at wire speed and build LANs in branch offices. They can now be bought alongside Dell servers, desktops, notebooks and storage products.
"We are bringing the Dell Direct model into the networking market and this is what helps us deliver high performance products at up to 50 per cent less cost," said Kim Goodman, global vice president of the networking products division at Dell.
Des Lekerman, managing director at Cisco reseller Eurodata Systems, said Dell's reputation as a PC and server manufacturer will mean it is "pigeon-holed" by users and that he does not see a threat to his Cisco business.
"The lower end networking vendors will be more threatened but Cisco will have to sharpen its pencil for the new competition," he added.
Nick Watson, head of unified channels UK at Cisco, said the vendor will not be reacting specifically to the Dell threat but will "continue to explain why our technology and resellers bring more than just the sale of a product to businesses".
Nick Ruczaj, sales and marketing director at networking vendor Allied Telesyn, said Dell has already showed its networking sales capabilities as being weak. "Dell has sold networking products from other vendors but has not been successful because users do not know them for networking," he explained.
When the range was launched in the US 14 months ago it was originally made up of four products aimed at the SME market. The range is now made up of eight products and includes the enterprise sector as customers. A total of two million ports have been sold since the launch.
The vendor is using third-party manufacturers to build the products, but will design and develop them itself. One source said Dell has signed an OEM agreement with Taiwanese vendor Delta.
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