New ADSL routers enter tough market

Allied Telesyn International of Bothell, Wash., launched the two newest products in its AR200 family of routers in March, targeting the remote location and self-office/home office (SOHO) ADSL markets.

According to the company, the AR240E and AR250E ADSL routers combine the functions of an IP router and an ADSL modem into one product and support G.DMT and G.Lite protocols for digital subscriber line access module (DSLAM) interoperability. The routers also support Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP) and Microsoft Corp.’s Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP) for virtual private network (VPN) operation backed up with a network address translation (NAT) user firewall.

With the increase in the number of teleworkers in recent years, products like the AR240E and AR250E allow workers at home to access to the corporate intranet by simulating an Ethernet connection between the home office and the corporate office through an ADSL, always-on Internet connection, said Dick Willson, CTO at Allied Telesyn. The products can also connect a remote or satellite office to a corporate intranet.

“They appear as if they are sitting on the office network, so it has both a corporate application and a home application,” Willson said.

The differences between the two are minimal, with the AR250E acting as a higher-end version of the AR240E. The AR240E includes one ADSL port, one USB port and one 10Mbps Ethernet port in a small desktop unit. The AR250E includes one ADSL port, one USB port and a 10/100Mbps 4-port Ethernet switch in a unit of the same size.

“There are many people, including myself, who have been provisioned with broadband services at my home, and the extra modem is supplied by the provider,” said James Mustarde, director of marketing at Allied Telesyn. “Alternatively, if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have to rent the modem from the supplier and have a product like the 250, so long as it is compatible.” He added the AR240E and AR250E are compatible with the technologies of most major suppliers and the incumbent telephone companies.

Similar products from other manufacturers have been on the market for some time now, but Mustarde said Allied Telesyn entering a market while it is growing and becoming healthy is typical strategy for the company.

“Right now, this product just came out, so they don’t officially fit into the market just yet,” said Lauri Vickers, a senior analyst with Cahners In-Stat Group in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In terms of SOHO routers, there was approximately 2 million units sold in 2000 for a combined US$1 billion in sales worldwide, Vickers said. And the market is dominated by names like Cisco Systems Inc., Netopia Inc. and 3Com Corp., so the market is competitive.