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.