NETGEAR Inc. has shipped a new line of small business switches, access points, and NAS devices equipped for native cloud management via a new mobile app.
Called Insight and available immediately at no charge in both iOS and Android versions, the app is designed to let administrators—or unskilled end users—discover and configure multiple wired and wireless network devices in one fell swoop, and then monitor and manage them remotely through an intuitive touchscreen interface.
According to Richard Jonker, vice president of the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor’s NETGEAR for Business unit, all of those capabilities are built directly into Insight-ready products.
“You do not need any other device, or software, or VPN proxy, or server, or anything else to connect them to the cloud,” he says. “You just plug them into a network that has a cloud connection and all the management is up.”
Engineered to be simple enough for use by small businesses without inhouse or third-party IT support, Insight software and hardware also offer sophisticated capabilities for network technicians, according to Shaheen Kazi, product management and PLM lead for SMB SaaS solutions at NETGEAR. Those include network segmentation, port rate management, port trunking, and granular VLAN management, among other features.
“If you want to go deeper all the capabilities are there,” Kazi says, adding that MSPs in particular will appreciate the solution’s remote administration capabilities.
“That saves them an enormous amount of time and unnecessary trips to the actual client site,” she says.
NETGEAR tailored Insight to the needs of organizations with under 100 employees, a market it considers historically underserved for networking products.
“Very often these folks a decade ago or so had very little in the way of networking, simply because they didn’t need it,” Kazi says. Today, however, small business employees and customers alike increasingly demand access to reliable Wi-Fi for their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The Internet of Things, she notes, will only compound the need for ubiquitous network connectivity in the years ahead.
“That means small businesses now have to provide wired and wireless networks in most cases, and they have to be secure,” Kazi observes.
Insight is designed to fill what NETGEAR sees as a gap in the networking market for simple SMB solutions with robust functionality.
“Unlike what we see typically in the enterprise vendors, where SMB is an afterthought and essentially the typical solutions that are offered to SMBs are dumbed down versions of the enterprise solutions, in our case we know that SMB is a market unto itself and it has needs that are very unique,” Kazi says.
In addition to automated device discovery and remote management, key features of the Insight app include one-tap device registration, data usage monitoring and logs, device connectivity and network health alerts, and click-through access to NETGEAR support.
At present, the app integrates with four switches, two wireless access points, and a select range of products in NETGEAR’s ReadyNAS family of storage arrays.
The switches, all brand new and available now, run from a compact, fan-less model to a rack-mountable device with eight Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ ports and a 195W PoE power budget.
The access points include the new WAC505 and the older WAC510, which reached market in January. The latter product requires a firmware update to connect with Insight software, and can be configured as a router. According to Jonker, both devices are a fit for SMB budgets.
“They’re extremely aggressive in pricing,” he says, noting that the WAC505 and WAC510 list for $89 and $99 respectively.
Compatible ReadyNAS systems include products in the 2000, 3000, and 4000 rackmount series and the 420, 520, and 620 desktop series running ReadyNAS OS 6 or newer.
Among them as well is the new ReadyNAS 2312, also released today, which NETGEAR says is the industry’s first 12-bay NAS device in a 1U form factor. Optimized for use with backup, archiving, video surveillance, and other scalability- and performance-sensitive workloads, the new device is powered by a quad core Intel Atom C3000 processor and quad gigabit Ethernet network interface.
NETGEAR will introduce additional Insight-compatible hardware in the months ahead, as well as a new web-based version of the Insight management portal and new, paid editions of the software with multi-tenancy and other features needed by MSPs and service providers. According to Kazi, those offerings will arrive early in 2018.
Insight is the latest in a string of new SMB networking products unveiled by NETGEAR in the last month. Those include 12-port and 48-port managed switches and a “do-it-yourself” Wi-fi solution that, like Insight, is designed to be easy enough for small business owners to install themselves.
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