Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Netgear is making multiple announcements to strengthen its SMB networking portfolio. The company is particularly pleased with the Orbi Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Ceiling Satellite’s nomination in the CES Innovation Awards in the Smart Home product category. While this is a commercial product, other new announcements may prove more exciting to the company’s channel partners. These include a new switching family, the new NETGEAR Smart Managed Pro S350 IPV6-ready series, targeted at the small business market. They also include a revision of Netgear’s Insight cloud management platform to add new capabilities, a new wireless access point for very dense use cases, and a new high-performance router for small businesses.
“This is a very significant set of announcements for us,” said Alexandra Mehat, Senior Manager SMB Product Marketing at Netgear.
The biggest of the announcements in terms of scope is the addition of a new switching family, the NETGEAR Smart Managed Pro S350 IPV6-ready series. It becomes a new entry level option in the Smart Managed Pro family, and consists of five switch models, including 8-, 24- and 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switches with 2 or 4 SFP ports for fiber uplinks. The 8- and 24-port models will include PoE+ (Power over Ethernet Plus) variants.
“The Smart Managed Pro S350 is a net-new addition to our portfolio,” Mehat said. “It sits between our Smart Managed Plus and our existing Smart Managed Pro, becoming the new low end of the Smart Managed Pro line. It is targeted at small businesses, with a sweet spot of 100-150 employees. It is aimed at customers who still need sophisticated features like voice and video convergence, but who don’t have the budget for other Smart Managed Pro solutions. These are less expensive and more affordable, to provide the right features at the right price for this part of the market.”
The difference between the Smart Managed Pro S350 and the higher end Smart Managed Pro S350 is the absence of features Netgear believes that smaller businesses neither need nor want.
“For example, while these switches are fully IPV6-ready, they do not have features like static routing and higher-end QoS that most smaller businesses are unlikely to need,” Mehat stated. “These are more advanced management capabilities that they likely wouldn’t even know how to use.”
Netgear introduced its Insight smart cloud offering in the fall of 2017, and followed that up last summer with Insight Pro for the commercial market. At CES, Netgear is announcing its Insight 5.5 version, which updates both its Insight and Insight Pro offerings.
“This is not a major release of Insight Pro, but there are some significant enhancements,” Mehat indicated. “We have enhanced the reporting to make it much more granular, providing more detail and allowing it to be customized at different levels.” The detail includes troubleshooting particulars around client devices, client signal strength, AP usage, and switch load. It also now provides health trends, with devices added, data consumption, clients added, and client properties. Change logs reports details of each change made in an organization by device, identifying who made each change with a date/time stamp. 24 to 30-day data usage filters for location-specific devices have also been added to inventory. In addition, new device backup and restore capabilities have been added. These include backup/ restore of a device setting in case of a factory reset, and the ability to maintain and restore to multiple backup versions and the ability to restore to any backed version on the device.
“Insight Pro has also added the ability to copy to customize your configuration across different locations, to save time because you don’t have to copy and paste over and over,” said Tim Polakowski, SMB Senior PR Specialist at Netgear.
The NETGEAR WAC124 High-performance AC2000 Wi-Fi router is designed for small office locations.
“It is an upgrade from the WAC104,” Mehat said. “We have added more performance and more coverage. It provides very coverage, but in a limited space.”
That coverage reaches a maximum coverage of 300Mbps+1734Mbps over independent channels, by employing external antennas. It also supports three separate and secure SSIDs over a 4×4 802.11ac Wave2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi.
The new NETGEAR Insight Managed Smart Cloud Tri-band 4×4 Wireless Access Point, the WAC540, is an entirely new offering which has been purpose built for very dense high-traffic environments.
“This is response to requests from customers for an AP that supports more users and has more density,” Mehat said. It has three separate radios (a single 2.4GHz and two 5GHZ channels), to bring a total of 3Gbps throughput, providing broad coverage and commercial-grade security.
“We have also added more advanced features around monitoring to better look for disturbances in the Wi-Fi space,” Mehat said. The capabilities include band-steering, beamforming, load balancing, airtime fairness and advanced roaming.
Last, and not least, comes the Orbi Pro Mesh Wi-Fi Ceiling Satellite, a nominee for the 2019 CES Innovation Awards in the Smart Home product category.
“The Orbi Pro is a business product, which uses the same great mesh technology of Orbi,” Mehat said. It connects with the Orbi Pro Router or any other Orbi Pro satellite through patented FastLane3 technology with a dedicated wireless backhaul for environments where wiring is challenging or impossible.
“This is a complete design change, which provides almost invisible Wi-Fi, to provide wireless connectivity between satellites,” Mehat indicated. “You can have wireless connectivity between satellites or PoE. You have the choice.” The PoE option utilizes 4×4 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi to cover denser environments.