Editorial: Hyundai, networking and cheap imports

How about Hyundai's spectacular public fall-out over the last couple of weeks?

The company made front-page headlines when it was revealed the front right wheel on around 46,000 of its popular Excels was in danger of collapsing into the wheel arch because of faulty welding.

If you think about it, we might be facing a similar situation in the networking industry.

Hyundai's fall from grace serves as a severe warning to new networking vendors contemplating the mass-marketing approach as a viable long-term business strategy.

But there is another issue here. How many of our popular routers, switches and hubs are mass-produced in Asian nations?

Quite a few, I understand. Even the big networking vendors rebadge kits made in these countries.

Now before anyone even thinks I'm thinking going to make a Hanson-like comment, think again.

The point is that in Australia, like many other island nations, we rely on imports for our IT gear -- some might say too much.

I really don't care which country it comes from, the bottom line for network and IT managers is quite simple. It's got to work well -- and keep on working well -- or customers will get another vendor's gear next time.

And as the vendors know all too well, you can't simply ship networking gear, whack it in enterprise networks and walk away. Service is king.

Smaller players like D-link and Accton promote the idea that the only difference between them and the "big four" networking vendors is price. That might be OK for small business, but users at the big end of town want value-add.

Quite simply, the days of the box-pusher are numbered.

Some people might be content to buy a cheaper product knowing they got a great deal. As for me, I'd rather buy from a manufacturer I know is going to look after me for the long-haul.

Mark Jones, Network World editor

Mark_Jones@idg.com.au

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