Resellers in the small to medium enterprise (SME) networking market are being told to forsake "black box" hardware-based routing options in favour of server-based communications that use products like Novell's BorderManager and Microsoft's Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS).
According to the Australian and New Zealand director of US company Digi International, Gary Spooner, ser-ver-based communications can be a half to a third the price of black box solutions. The bonus for resellers, Spooner says, is better margins.
"Novell and Microsoft have taken what hardware routers were doing and put it inside their operating systems," said Spooner. "They're taking the mystique out of routing and making it affordable," he said.
BorderManager and RRAS don't eliminate the hardware component completely, but reduce it to a communications board which slots inside a PC server. Digi is a leader in the manufacture of the boards, distributed by Sealcorp, that cater for ISDN, frame relay, asynchronous and synchronous remote LAN connections.
Spooner said that aside from being cheaper to buy than a dedicated router, server-based network routing capacity is readily expanded by the installation of additional cards.
Another benefit is that IT departments can grab back control of the communications function by cutting down the need for a specialist communications group, he said.
Richard Wood is the editor of New Zealand Reseller News.