NetGear Helps SMBs with Converged Networking

NetGear is rolling out two new ProSafe Advanced Gigabit Smart Switches, the GS724TPS and GS748TPS devices, which offer Giga-bit connectivity, PoE and stacking features. Such features are key for helping SMBs migrate to converged networks. It also comes at a time when larger vendors, including Cisco and HP, are looking to make inroads into the growing SMB space.

NetGear wants to help SMBs take advantage of the trend toward converged networks.

NetGear June 29 is rolling out two new networking switches that combine Gigabit connectivity, PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) and stacking capabilities, enabling small and midsized businesses to bring together VOIP (voice over IP), wireless and data onto a single network.

The two new ProSafe Advanced Gigabit Smart Switches, the GS724TPS and GS748TPS devices, are designed to help make it easier for SMBs-which NetGear defines as businesses with 500 or fewer seats-to migrate to a converged network infrastructure. The target market is for 50 to 200 users.

"They don't have a lot of IT resources to [bring together] all these [converged networking] products," Sanjay Kumar, director of product marketing at NetGear, said in an interview.

NetGear is finding a growing number of competitors in the SMB networking space, which is where the growth in the market is, Kumar said. Along with traditional rivals such as D-Link and 3Com, larger vendors such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard are muscling their way in, he said.

The NetGear products are designed to be easy to use, Kumar said. The new combination switches offer SMBs flexibility and scalability, as well as streamlined IP management.

Converged networks can include wireless LANs, VOIP phones or IP-PBXs and video teleconferencing. In addition, the switches come with PoE capabilities on all ports and auto-voice VLAN features, making it easier for businesses to set up the PoE-enabled IP phones and wireless access points anywhere, without having to change the wiring infrastructure. The first four ports on each of the new switches also can support PoE+, which provides up to 30 watts to higher-powered PoE devices such as multichannel wireless access points, pan-tilt-zoomed IP cameras, and business communication including video conferencing and collaboration and voice-based IP phones.

"It gives customers long-term future-proofing," Kumar said.

The switches offer two dedicated HDMI ports, which deliver up to 20 Gigabits-per-second stacking bandwidth on each switch. Businesses can stack up to six switches or 288 ports and manage them with a single IP address. The stacking features also include redundancy and are hot-swappable.

Management also is made easier, Kumar said. The switches can be managed as one unit via a Web console that can be used to configure all the switches' features-including a single IP address and automatic firmware synchronization-as well as monitor and troubleshoot the products. Security capabilities include 802.1x for authentication and ACL filtering to permit or deny traffic based on MAC or IP addresses.