TP-Link expanding brand recognition, market reach in Canada

TP-Link, which once sold pretty much exclusively into the consumer and small business spaces, has been expanding its enterprise-grade products, and having more success selling upmarket.

Chinese-based networking vendor TP-Link has been expanding its market presence. They have expanded their range of offerings beyond the consumer and SMB spaces where they started, and have expanded the support they provide to commercial customers.

“We have been having success throughout the whole range of the market, from consumer and small business, up to the enterprise,” said Martin Proepper, senior manager, product marketing at TP-Link.

In the U.S., TP-Link has just launched its new Auranet CAP line of managed access points, which use hardware-based controllers.

“Things tend to trail a little in Canada, and the CAP APs are not here yet,” Proepper said. “Canada has the EAP software managed access points.”

“We have a full range of switches, and just recently introduced 10 GB switches, which is a very big deal for us,” Proepper said.

Last year, TP-Link underwent a rigorous re-branding. Its logo was changed completely, and its product naming conventions were revamped and simplified, While separate brands exist for categories like smart and managed switches, other naming was made more intuitive. For example, their T3 series are their Layer 3 switches, while the T2 are the Layer 2 switches. The old naming conventions were much more arcane.

TP-Link has also expanded support for its commercial market products.

“We have reinvested a lot back into the market, with a policy of standing by our products, and trying to be quick with our response time,” said Queenie Tse, channel marketing manager for TP-Link in Canada. “We are now offering a free engineering assessment with any commercial product. This is something that was introduced last year.”

TP-Link also stresses that their control of their own production is a differentiating factor for them.

“All the vendors have access to the same technology – but we are the manufacturer of our products,” Proepper said. “We don’t go through an ODM. It gives us control over tolerances, control and support, and allows us to confidently offer 24/7 support for the lifetime of the product.”

TP-Link is emphasizing their product quality and suitability for demanding deployments in their marketing. A recent customer win involved their partner Intello Technologies in a hospitality sector deployment in Quebec with demanding requirements. TP-Link took part in designing the Wi-Fi consistency both wall-to-wall and outdoors, providing their complimentary engineering services. The solutions used included their EAP330 and EAP320 Access Points, which use advanced MIMO and TurboQAM technology to reach speeds of up to 1.9 Gbps.

“A lot of time in wi-fi infrastructure deployment, the vendor winds up with a black eye when the gear doesn’t do what it was supposed to do,” Proepper said. “The real issue is usually the lack of proper planning for capacity. We provide this, and our bandwidth throttling, which is standard in all our wireless products, prevents individuals from monopolizing the bandwidth.”

TP-Link sells entirely through partners, which include resellers, large account resellers and retail. They have about 2000 partners in Canada. Ivan Li is TP-Link Canada’s General manager.

TP-Link Canada’s recent investments include setting up its own Canadian-based marketing team two years, and moving into new offices which have more than double the old warehouse space.

All of TP-Link’s efforts appear to be bearing some fruit.

“We have been doing brand surveys through third parties, and they indicate that our brand recognition is increasing,” Proepper said. “People who have bought TP-Link are also 50 per cent more likely to recommend us compared to a year ago.”

“While our Canadian business is strongest in the main urban centres, we are getting more awareness in other parts of Canada,” Tse said.