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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.