SMC to Expand Edgecore Brand, Higher-end Gear

SMC Networks will rebrand most of its products and introduce some higher-end gear in North America, expanding the Edgecore brand it has already begun using in some other parts of the world.

The maker of LAN gear and broadband customer premises equipment (CPE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Accton Technology of Taiwan, sells exclusively through channel partners and specializes in small and medium-size enterprises and the hospitality market. With approximately US$150 million in worldwide annual revenue, SMC is dwarfed by Cisco Systems but says its sales have grown 10 percent this year against strong economic headwinds.

The move is a renaming of SMC's Business Solutions Group in North America. Edgecore was launched four years ago in Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as Africa and parts of Asia, according to Keith Alexis, Edgecore's general manager. Its offerings reach higher than SMC's traditional gear, encompassing chassis-based Ethernet switches, additional 10-gigabit Ethernet options, large-scale CPE for fiber and Metro Ethernet, and WiMax base stations and CPE. As the Edgecore brand is introduced in North America, most of those products will come out in the region as well, with the exception of the WiMax gear, Alexis said.

Only the home and small-office equipment that the company's Service Provider Group sells through cable operators will remain under the SMC brand in North America, Alexis said. This includes both cable modems and complementary LAN gear, such as Wi-Fi routers, that the cable companies offer to their subscribers.

In addition to bringing in the higher-end products, SMC is making the change to prevent confusion between the two parts of its company, Alexis said. Some of SMC's channel partners compete against cable operators in selling some home LAN equipment, he said.

Edgecore will make its North American debut at the fall Interop trade show starting Nov. 16 in New York. The newly named business will have a dual-brand strategy with SMC over the next three years to give customers time to get used to the new product lines.

The company is holding off on WiMax for North America because LTE (Long-Term Evolution), another form of next-generation wireless broadband that Edgecore will also supply, seems to be gaining more traction than WiMax, Alexis said.

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