Mitsubishi moves into wireless networking

Seeking to leverage the strength of its monitor brand, Mitsubishi Electric has launched its first wireless networking range into the Australian market.

The launch strategy will see the consumer electronics giant rely wholly upon its OEM and systems integrator channel to push the range into the consumer/SOHO space.

The Diamond Digital branded range currently includes the R100 Wireless Gateway (RRP $249), A101 Wireless USB Adaptor (RRP $149), and the A111 Wireless Card Adaptor (RRP $129) which are IEEE 802.11B and G compliant, transfer data at 54 megabits per second and have a range of 40m within buildings or 350m in the open.

Mitsubishi Electric general manger, Richard Freggi, said while the vendor was focusing on the consumer/SOHO market, it would not be targeting mass merchants.

“The retail market’s first concern is price,” he said. “They do not care about Mitsubishi’s values of brand, service and customisation.”

Instead, the vendor would rely on its channel to reach consumer and SOHO customers who would pay a price premium for these values, Freggi said.

“We employed this strategy with our LCD monitors and now we are doing it with networking,” he said. “As a result, we are one of the few companies currently making margin from LCD sales.

“The channel is something we have built up over the last 15 years and has the ability to move the product to the consumer space,” Freggi said. “We also have a different brand and strategy so we won’t encroach into the space already occupied by our competitors.”

Mitsubishi’s wireless range will come with a plain English set-up guide with each product, a registration-free three-year warranty, an Australian-based technical support line and a warranty service office in each state.

The vendor would also seek to allay small business fears around security by including the soon-to-be ratified WiFi protected access standard, he said.

Highlighting the vendor’s future direction, Mitsubishi Electric product development manager, Thaddeus Du Fresne, said the company would be concentrate on the lower end of the wireless networking space over the coming two quarters.

“There is not a lot of value at the high-end of the market in wireless networking,” he said. “With large deployments, there are still issues around interoperability even within a single vendor’s range.”

Du Fresne also ruled out the possibility of cross-promotion, like bundling with an ISP, in the short-tern.

“Our strategy to date has been to get our product out and get a presence before creating partnerships,” he said.

Accordingly, the vendor would hold a road-show during September to promote the range to customers and the channel.

Mitsubishi would also look to launch a router with an in-built ADSL modem, a PCI adaptor and a thumb profile USB adaptor products in fourth quarter 2004 and first quarter 2005, du Fresne said.

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