Netgear targets SMBs with wireless LAN gear

Netgear advances ProSafe Advanced Smart Switch

Netgear this week will roll out network and storage gear aimed at a range of small and midsize businesses, including a new 802.11n wireless LAN product line.

The wireless, switch and storage products continue the company's goal of introducing features found in higher-end wireless products into affordable alternatives for companies without extensive IT expertise and resources.

Netgear plans to announce at Interop 2008 this week:

  • A two-radio ProSafe WLAN access point, which supports 11n clients on one radio at a time (the second radio can be dedicated to 802.11abg clients)

  • New features to its ProSafe line of smart switches (an intermediate product line between unmanaged and fully managed L2 boxes); three new gigabit members of the product line, two with static routing support; and a revamped Web-based management interface

  • Its first six-bay ReadyNAS Pro network-attached storage product, with a 6TB capacity and support for RAID 0, 1, 6 and 6; for as many as 200 users

The new WLAN access point, the WNDAP330, is aimed at a price sensitive market, with a list price of just US$475. It's the vendor's first 11n product designed specifically for the enterprise SMB market, instead of residential or SOHO users, according to Netgear executives.

Either radio can support 11n clients, in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. But only one radio can run as an 11n device at a time. So, a business customer could designate the 2.4GHz radio to support existing 11g wireless laptops, and the 5GHz radio for new 11n clients. By running only one 11n radio at a time, the access point can draw enough power from existing 802.3af power over Ethernet switches, according to Netgear executives.

The access point has one 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port, a console port for local configuration and monitoring, and three detachable antennas. It can be set up and managed through Netgear's ProSafe Control Center, a Web-based management interface, or via SNMP MIB I, II, or 802.11 MIB, by any SNMP-based management application, including Netgear's ProSafe Network Management System.

It supports an array of standard enterprise security features including all popular 802.x authentication protocols, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), WPA2, VPN pass through, and SSL remote management login.

It's just one of an array of enterprise-class 11n gear being announced at Interop this week.

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