A long-time distributor of networking equipment has turned to Synnex Canada to get its products into the hands of the channel.

Gentek Marketing announced the deal this month, at the same time as it launched a soft switch allowing Internet service providers to offer voice over IP service.

“We

had a hybrid (distribution) model,” explained John Herrington, general manager of the Markham, Ont.-based company, “but I felt we needed to have another partner as our technology portfolio expanded.”

The company, known largely for analogue and broadband network home and business equipment under the G-net brand, had agreements with Ingram Micro Canada, ProData, Daiwa Distribution, AceCom and Cinet. It also sold direct to larger customers.

However, Gentek believes the future is in creating VoIP solutions for service providers and corporations. As part of its new focus the company wanted to get out of distribution.

“Synnex was very attractive because of the EMJ (Data Systems) acquisition [last year], because of their strength in networking and deployment of cutting-edge technologies,” Herrington said.

That merger was “the last component I thought I needed in ensuring I could transfer my 4,000 resellers to the channel.”

The Synnex deal covers all of the G-net lines as well as Gentek’s newer VoIP equipment, which includes Internet access devices (IADs), VoIP phones, IP-PBXs, gateways and routers. Also included are other devices Gentek distributes such as LucidLink’s wireless security and Koolspan smart card authentication products.

It also covers what Gentek calls its “ISP VoIP Highway,” a platform for Internet telephony service providers to offer VoIP service to customers.

The platform has two soft switches, which are made by MLC VoIP Systems of Brockville, Ont.: The Service Station 2000, for up to 2,500 users; and the Service Station 2005, for up to 5,000 nodes.

The Model 2001 costs $9,995, which includes a licence for the first year, and after that $4,495 annual licence fee.

Among the advantages of the switches is that customers who call ISPs around the world also using the Service Station can call direct without being charged long-distance fees. By adding an optional T1 card, providers can also offer local phone service.

“This allows small providers to interconnect among themselves and compete against other companies such as Vonage and Primus,” said Paul Tauberg, Gentek’s marketing manager.

While most products will go through distribution, Herrington said there will still be some fulfillment for ISPs who want to buy direct.

But, he added, “my mission is to get out of the finance business . . . Our national distribution partners do a very good job of fulfillment and finance.”

At the same time, Gentek will keep looking for more vendors to add to its lineup, he said.

“We formed six partnerships last year,” he said. “We’re going to double that this year.”

“It’s a great idea,” Frank Abate, president of Infinity Technologies Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., and a Gentek reseller, said of move to get out of distribution.

Alex Nobile, Synnex Canada’s vice-president of product management, said the deal was a way to expand the company’s line. “They have a wide-variety of products our customer base will be interested in,” he said.

One of them is a wireless video baby monitoring system from Mobi Technologies. In previews Synnex’s retailers “think this is something that could sell very well,” Nobile said.

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