Samsung, despite the deep pockets of its parent, will have a steep uphill climb to gain a foothold in a well-established market where it has no presence to date, according to Matthias Machowinski, industry analyst with Infonetics Research, in Woburn, Mass.
To set itself apart, Samsung with its new Ubigate iBG 2016 and iBG 3026 used a more inclusive definition of converged communications. The devices provide network switching and routing combined with security, VOIP (voice over IP) and mobility.
"We see convergence taking place on two fronts: data/voice and wired/wireless. But we see security being embedded in every part of the network," said Alex Kim, vice president in the Enterprise Networking Division of Samsung.
Samsung believes that the dominant networking providers have not adequately addressed the networking requirements of the midsize enterprise. "The midmarket was largely ignored by networking companies," Kim said. "They need simplified user management and pure IP telephony with competitive pricing to reduce TCO [total cost of ownership] and provide anytime, anywhere mobile access. We saw a trend for a one-box solution with VOIP and security based on switching and routing."
The iBG3026, the first device Samsung will market in the United States, will include network modules for LAN, WAN IP telephony and WiMax connectivity. It can accommodate intrusion protection systems, anti-virus, URL filtering and end-point security. Up to three minimodules will provide a mix of WAN access, IT telephony and option models for extended LAN capabilities, Kim said. It will also support Secure Sockets Layer and IP Security accelerators. The chassis for the device includes redundant power supplies, and modules are hot-swappable.
It is capable of forwarding up to 530,000 packets per second, can support up to 14 T-1 WAN links and can support 54 Gigabit Ethernet links. It also supports up to 60 analog voice links.
In the third quarter, Samsung will introduce the iBG2016, which can forward 300,000 packets per second and support 20 Gigabit Ethernet LAN links or 40 analog voice links.
Samsung hopes to compete against well-entrenched players such as Cisco Systems, with its popular Integrated Services Router, by providing better performance at a better price, Kim said.
Compared with other vendors, Samsung will integrate more functions and services and avoid the kind of performance degradation that running advanced services has caused for Ciscos ISR.
"Very few if any will have everything there at the same time," said Kim. "And as you turn on more services—[Network Address Translation], firewall, IPS—the performance degrades horrendously. Weve done some Tolly Group testing that shows even with more services turned on, we dont see that same degradation. We offload some of the work into hardware, and there is some proprietary technology we are using for doing some caching as well as splitting packets into different paths."
"A lot of companies are adding security to their routers, but thats about it," echoed Machowinski. "What sets them apart is the breadth of functions theyre putting into a single box."
Samsung will also differentiate on ease of use, thanks to a Web-based graphical user interface in the administration tool for the devices.
"Everything is integrated in a single screen. Whether its a switch or security module, all the user experience is consistent," said Kim.
Samsung will also have an uphill battle in recruiting resellers to distribute its convergence devices. To date none has signed up, although Samsung is closing in on one or two U.S.-based distributors, Kim said.