D-Link: Building Network for PeopleThe Courage to Innovate
In 1986, D-Link founder Ken Kao and six colleagues set out on an entrepreneurial venture that would forever change the computer networking industry. At that time, the technology to enable personal computer networking was still in its infancy. Desktop PCs were slow, bulky devices with limited applications and no Internet access. Network adapters used a bulky 11 inch form factor–too large to be practical for most applications. Few had the confidence that networking cards could be made more compact and affordable, but the founders of D-Link were confident that they could change the paradigm.
Enlisting the expertise of co founder John Lee, the team founded Datex Systems Inc. and set out to develop an innovative new networking adapter suitable for wider applications. Lee skillfully designed Datex’s first product –the DN 001, which used an ASIC (Application specific IC) design, cramming all of the necessary components into a compact 5.25 inch form factor, half the size of the conventional design. Since IBM compatible personal computers had very limited space, this improvement made the adapter especially attractive to the contemporary consumer. The design was a triumph, but would consumers abroad trust a small Taiwanese manufacturer?
The Audacity to Succeed
Kao knew his product would be a hit, but his team members were wary of his initial plan to market the DN 001 in the U.S.A. As a small business based in Taiwan, many felt that Kao was setting his sights too high. Even several of Taiwan’s larger and more established firms, such as Acer, had encountered substantial hurdles when entering the market in North America. But Kao was resolute, stating, “Everyone knows that the U.S.A. is the most difficult market to succeed in, but the world’s best vendors, most innovative technologies, and best products are all there right now. If we are committed to creating the most innovative networking products, we can’t ignore the U.S.A.”
Kao’s confidence paid off. After tenacious promotion to channel partners, Datex products were a hit in North America, paving the way for success throughout the rest of the world. Consumers were impressed with the company’s innovative designs and cost effective offerings. Within several months, Datex was at work developing additional new and groundbreaking products.
The Birth of a Brand
D-Link was founded under the name Datex Systems. Datex was a combination of the words “data” and “exchange,” emphasizing the initial purpose of networking technology. As the world evolved, it became apparent that Datex networking products were destined for more than the simple task of data transmission. Networking was progressively being seen as a way to bring together people and ideas. With this in mind, the company changed its name from Datex to D-Link, the name it would eventually use at its IPO at the Taiwan stock exchange in 1994.
The name D-Link takes the leading D from Datex, combining it with the concept of a “link” connecting people. In fact, D-Link’s Chinese name roughly translates as “friends networking together.” This concept continues to shape D-Link’s brand today. Now more than just a company manufacturing connectivity solutions, D-Link is a brand whose products touch numerous aspects of modern life with products from enterprise switch and security equipment to consumer multimedia systems for the home.
Solutions for Today’s World
Today’s world requires a responsiveness that D-Link proudly delivers, and few others can match. Strong ties to chipset manufacturers, telecom operators, software firms, and IT/Internet providers combined with an emphasis on research, design, and development allow D-Link to stay abreast of modern technological developments. A network of global distribution and delivery channels supplies D-Link products and solutions to more than 100 countries every day.
Though founded as a small venture, D-Link has since swelled into an international networking giant with over 2,700 employees worldwide. Having endured through multiple recessions and the burst of the dot-com bubble, D-Link is now stronger than ever, having achieved double digit growth year over year for more than 21 years. D-Link has emerged as a trusted brand with a worldwide reputation for robust and affordable networking solutions, and has renewed its commitment to developing cloud networking technologies and IPv6 ready hardware which will prepare its customers for an alluring new era of ultimate connectivity and more power and convenience than ever before.