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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:09

Netgear's 'industry first' network remote management tool delivers insight

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Netgear's new Insight Management App promises to "eliminate complexity with instantaneous one-touch network discovery, set-up, monitoring and management of WiFi access points, switches and storage." 

Arriving hours before before yesterday's Wi-Fi WPA2 hacking news broke worldwide, Netgear's new "Insight" solution is being billed as "a revolutionary new way to instantly discover, configure, and continuously monitor and manage your network of Netgear Wi-Fi access points, switches and storage devices".

One would hope that it will quickly be updated to alert you to whether your Netgear Wi-Fi enabled equipment has also been patched for the new WPA2 vulnerability, and I'll be forwarding this article to Netgear afterwards to see if it has any specific comment on this new issue.

So, what is Netgear's Insight?

It is billed as an "industry first – offering plug-and-play set up and management of your network from an easy-to-use mobile app with no mandatory fees for the app or the subscription".

Until now, Netgear explains that "set-up and management of small business network devices has been tedious, requiring owners or IT managers to configure each device individually".

Naturally, Netgear says its new Insight app management solution is "the answer to the once diverse landscape of network management tools", allowing for "easy multi-device configuration and instant management of your Insight Managed switches, wireless access points and network storage" – all from wherever you can connect to the Internet.

The app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play, and also offers instant registration of any Netgear Business product, providing "a unified, single-pane-of-glass view of your Netgear network devices with easy access to both product information and support".

Richard Jonker, vice-president of Netgear for Business, said: "At Netgear, we have designed our products with the small business owner in mind. With limited budgets and few resources at their disposal, small businesses need intuitive IT solutions.

“The ideal scenario is easy-to-use networking that can be managed on the go, that consistently works to provide the 24/7 connectivity which is crucial to keeping a business afloat and the business owner’s mind at ease.”

Jonker added: “Unlike enterprise network management solutions where the SMB is an afterthought, Insight is laser-focused on the SMB space and their growing need for performance, scalability, and mobility.

"Most cloud-managed networks are expensive, complex and ignore the most important screen of all, the one that is always with you – your smartphone. Whether your network is at your home, your store or a remote location, this line of networking products provides you with a secure way to identify, troubleshoot and resolve issues which might arise, anytime, anywhere.”

Insight "enables easy management of Netgear Smart Cloud wireless access points, switches and ReadyNAS storage products all from the app on a mobile device".

Key features of the Netgear Insight app:

  • Unified wired/wireless network management with data usage monitoring and logs.
  • Remote access with 24/7 visibility and control of all Insight Managed devices in your network.
  • Instant automated discovery of select Netgear access points, switches and storage.
  • One-tap device registration to simplify and streamline access to Netgear support options.
  • Easy-to-use network configuration across devices using your mobile device.
  • In-app firmware updates across all Insight Managed devices in the network.
  • Full remote/cloud network monitoring and management with no additional cloud controller, appliance, or PC/server necessary.
  • Email and instant push notifications and warnings on your network and device connectivity and network health.
  • In-app click through to Netgear support for your registered devices.

The comapny is also introducing 'Insight Managed Smart Cloud Switches'. 

These are billed as "the industry’s first fully-integrated, cloud-manageable network switches for SMB. All four models provide 8 copper Gigabit Ethernet ports plus 2 SFP fibre ports for flexible connectivity. They are desktop or wall-mountable, and feature a clean, elegant design".

  • The GC110 is a compact; fan-less switch for anywhere deployment across the network.
  • The GC110P features 8 copper Gigabit Ethernet PoE ports with a total of 62W PoE power for maximum flexibility and easy deployment in your network. It’s also silent, and features advanced PoE controls.
  • The GC510P features 8 copper Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ ports with a total of 134W PoE power for flexible deployment of full power PoE+ devices. The GC510P is also rack-mountable and fan-less for silent operation, so it’s perfect for noise-sensitive environments.

Netgear says its the GC510PP features 8 copper Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ ports with a total of 195W PoE power for flexible deployment of high-density PoE+ devices. It’s also rack-mountable, and its whisper quiet fan keeps it running cool while maintaining near silent operation.

The new Insight Managed Smart Cloud switches "supports a full suite of advanced L2 switching features for everything from a simple network to a highly complex one, and are designed to meet current and future needs of a fully converged network".

The advanced switching features include:

  • VLANs (including Auto-VoIP & Auto-Video) and LLDP support;
  • Port trunking / Link aggregation (LAG) and IGMP snooping;
  • QoS and priority queuing, port-based rate limiting, and RSTP and loop prevention;
  • ACLs, storm control and port mirroring; and
  • Advanced per-port PoE controls (PoE models).

Netgear says that you "just plug the switch into your network and the Internet, discover with the Insight app, and you’re done, as no additional hardware is required. You can set up policies across switches and APs without configuring each separately. See what’s connected on each switch port, port speeds, and remotely manage PoE power including enabling and disabling PD devices from anywhere, anytime".

In addition, there are 'Insight Managed Smart Cloud Wireless Access Points'.

Netgear tells us that "modern Wi-Fi means satisfying the business necessity of providing high-quality Wi-Fi with no dead zones for your business, guests and employees", and says its Netgear Insight Managed wireless access points are "easily discovered, deployed and managed within the Insight app – perfect for small businesses with no IT team".

Netgear says its access points currently available that are fully compatible with the Insight app include:

  • WAC505 Insight Managed Smart Cloud Wireless Access Point – NEW
    • Great coverage for small offices with Wave2 AC1200 performance;
    • Easy set-up, deployment, management and monitoring using the Netgear Insight app;
    • Remote/Cloud network management and monitoring;
    • Small size with easy mount to ceiling or wall with the included bracket; and
    • Can be powered via PoE or a power adapter.
  • WAC510 Insight Managed Smart Cloud Wireless Access Point with Router capabilities and superior range and performance (existing owners need to update firmware)
    • Superior coverage for small and medium offices with optimised Wave2 AC1200 performance;
    • Easy set-up, deployment, management and monitoring using the Netgear Insight app;
    • Remote/Cloud network management and monitoring;
    • Small size with easy mount to ceiling or wall with the included bracket;
    • Can be powered via PoE or a power adapter; and
    • Can be configured as a router.

Netgear says you "just mount the Access Point at the desired location, discover it with the Insight app, configure the Access Point via the Insight app and you’re done. No additional hardware is required. You can even set up network policies across switches and APs without configuring each separately".

Finally, there is also 'Insight Managed Network Storage'. 

Netgear boasts its ReadyNAS "delivers best-in-class data reliability and security for SMBs".

There are two product categories — desktop and rackmount — and these can "scale from an office of two up to offices with hundreds of people".

The following ReadyNAS Business-Class Products running ReadyNAS OS 6.0 or newer are fully compatible with Insight:

  • ReadyNAS 2000, 3000 and 4000 Rackmount Series
  • ReadyNAS 420, 520 and 620 Desktop Series

With Insight, Netgear says "you can view the critical status of all your ReadyNAS units at all locations, and perform essential management functions such as firmware upgrades, diagnostics log download, shutdown, and more. Insight gives you freedom, visibility and control. It is an ideal tool for SMBs and service providers that manage multiple units at multiple sites".

So, there you go, an insight into Netgear's newest hardware and software.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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