There's growing speculation that Intel may be readying itself for a substantial networking investment with the news that the vendor's business for office networking gear is going great guns.
Only eighteen months ago, Intel had a patchy product portfolio for networking. Now, it can lay claim to a solid range of LAN and office solutions and has set its sights on the lucrative enterprise booty that is just around the corner.
According to the company's national sales manager Archie Wilson, Intel has been struggling against rigid industry perceptions of it as a microprocessor vendor, despite the company's recently publicised ambition to be the number two networking vendor behind Cisco.
Intel recently announced partnerships with Telstra Big Pond, AT&T and Magna Data which will be targeted at providing Internet access and related services to users, in conjunction with its channel partners.
Wilson said that the company is now moving towards the campus environment and will soon announce new office routers and stackable switches featuring embedded silicon technology. He said that silicon is going to tilt the playing field for switches and other networking gear, dramatically in Intel's favour.
But, many pundits suggest that silicon alone will not be enough to launch Intel into the heat of enterprise battle. To be a serious threat, these pundits suggest a take-over, possibly of 3Com, as Intel's best chance of achieving enterprise success.
Evidence of Intel's commitment in Australia to networking is probably most apparent in the company's recent achievements and future plans for its local business partners.
While Intel has stepped up training for its premier partner program, the company is targeting its tier four OEMs through which over 60 per cent of PCs are sold in Australia, Wilson said.
This area has seen the biggest growth for Intel's networking products, giving rise to a "genuine dealer program" offering support and education to this group.
The company recently added local distributor Connexus to its local list of networking distributors which includes Tech Pacific, Electronic Resources and Express Data.
Intel's existing VAR channel in Australia features Senteq, Praxa, Ipex, Data 3 and PowerLan while AMS and BSA are official "solutions" partners.