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Improved Support Key to SOHO Router Market

In-Stat expects moderate growth in all broadband router segments in the second half of 2006, and over the next four years.

However, In-Stat has found that Small Office Home Office (SOHO) routers will show the most growth due to increased broadband adoption, more computers within the home and small office, and value-added services requiring higher speed routers.

Additionally, higher levels of security, increased scalability, and multi-play services are just a few of the many drivers that will sustain continued moderate growth within the SMB branch office and enterprise router segments.

In the first half of 2006 ZyXEL led the SOHO router market, capturing 16.8 percent revenue market share. Linksys, D-Link, and NetGear all have strong distribution channels and well-established corporate brands that will continue to ensure their dominance in the SOHO router market, but ZyXEL is the primary vendor to watch -- due to the growth seen in the first half of 2006.

As more small business owners choose to operate from a home-based office, and more mid- to late-adopters purchase complex broadband routers, I believe that device manufacturers and their distributors must actively prepare for both the increased volume and varied requirements for both operational and technical support.

Clearly, the typical one-size-fits-all approach to self-support doesn't meet the diverse needs of SOHO users with vastly different levels of technical experience. Therefore, this is an excellent opportunity for vendors and service providers to make their 'customer care model' a primary point of competitive differentiation.

Cisco continued to dominate the SMB branch office and enterprise router segments in the first half of 2006, with over 70 percent market share. Most SMB branch office users are more likely to request support from an internal corporate IT organization. However, some end-users may have no choice but to contact vendors and broadband service providers directly.

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