Adtran Enlists VADs to Attack SMB Market

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


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The networking equipment vendor believes converting large resellers into value-added distributors will help attract and empower smaller VARs to help it take on larger rivals Cisco and Juniper.

Adtran is pinning its hopes of penetrating the lucrative SMB market and capture share from larger rivals Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks by converting some of its largest solution providers into value-added distributors (VADs) that service smaller resellers.

Adtran has long boasted having superior networking and communications equipment that carry higher margins for authorized resellers. Obstructing its SMB channel, though, is steep and expensive partnership certification requirements.

Converting large resellers into VADs, Adtran believes it will open a new channel for smaller solution providers to gain access to products and support that they ordinarily couldn’t qualify for through direct partnership with Adtran or conventional distributors.

The first solution provider to sign up for the new Adtran VAD program is Interlink Communication Systems, an Internet-working, wireless and VOIP-focused specialty distribution company representing select manufacturers to an international network of value-added resellers, system integrators and network service providers.

Primarily, Interlink will support Adtran’s NetVanta voice and data networking line. Solution providers will be able to purchase Adtran products, complete solutions, complimentary products and onsite services. Interlink aims to become the one-stop distributor for small VARs looking for integrated networking solutions.

VADs participating in the Adtran program are filling the SMB channel roll traditionally played by broad-line distributors, such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data. "Historically speaking, this three-tier model has been adopted by others in the IT channel, but it tends to create a multitude of issues between the vendor and VAD around channel engagement. For Ingram, it will be business as usual between us and Adtran," an Ingram Micro spokesperson told Channel Insider.

Adtran admits that solution providers working through VADs will not achieve the same margin on product sales as larger resellers. However, Adtran believes that there’s enough value-add and services opportunity in the 50 to 250 seat market for solution providers to find success and make Adtran an alternative to Cisco and Juniper.

Part of that value-add opportunity may come from managed services. Adtran is looking to build more service opportunities for its partners with a new managed services offering. The company is equipping its products with the necessary hooks to work with an Adtran developed software platform.

Named n-Command MSP, Adtran’s management platform is a Web-based platform that simplifies new device deployment and enables managed service providers, service providers and enterprise IT organizations to deliver on service-level agreements, improve customer service response times, reduce network downtimes and proactively monitor and report the performance of VOIP networks.

Currently, the n-Command platform is a proprietary solution and only works with Adtran equipment. In the future, Adtran plans to add integration with leading MSP platforms.

Adtran also recently announced the availability of a 3G wireless WAN module for the Netvanta 3305 modular router. The NetVanta 3G Network Interface Module (NIM) is certified for use with Verizon Wireless’ Broadband Access Wireless Router service and provides an alternative connectivity option when used in conjunction with Adtran’s NetVanta 3305 modular router. The NetVanta 3G NIM provides Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) service using Verizon’s Evolution Data Optimized Rev. A (EV-DO) service, allowing users to take advantage of flexible deployment options at broadband speeds from a single platform.

The new connectivity option is ideal for a number of applications, such as network failover/backup or as a primary broadband connection for smaller businesses. When used for a failover/backup configuration, network traffic can be diverted to the 3G wireless connection in the event of a primary circuit failure – maintaining network connectivity.

The NetVanta 3G NIM also can be used as a primary connection in applications requiring broadband speeds, such as construction sites or remote temporary offices. The 3G NIM can be used to replace expensive T1 circuits or deployed where wired broadband is not yet available.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com