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Netgear Introduces SMB-Size Wireless Network Management

Over the next several months, networking provider Netgear will be rolling out a new line of ProSafe wireless management solutions, meant to make it easier for small and midsize businesses to set up and manage wireless networks.According to the announcement, Netgear is aiming to fill the gap between wireless networking products intended for managing a single access point (AP), and those intended for large enterprises. The ProSafe line provides a single point of management for multiple Netgear access points, enabling administrators to establish uniform security settings and access requirements across the entire wireless network, as well as to upgrade the whole network in one action.

The new ProSafe line includes three products:

- The ProSafe WMS105 5-AP Wireless Management Software runs on a PC attached to the network and supports up to five wireless access points. It will be available in May at a suggested price of $50.

- The ProSafe WMS5316 16-AP Wireless Management System comes as a standalone controller and supports up to 16 access points. In addition to automatically discovering access points (as does the WMS105 sofware), it can load-balance across the network to keep any one AP from getting bogged down. It will be available in March at a suggested pric of $910.

- The ProSafe WC7520 20-AP Wireless Controller, also a standalone device, supports up to 20 access points out of the box and is upgradable in 10-AP increments up to a total of 50 supported APs. Furthermore, up to three WC7520s can be stacked together, enabling the management of 150 APs from one interface. This unit also provides load balancing and supports rate limiting. Due out in July, it will list for $6,280, and the 10-AP upgrades will be $4,200 each.

"The management of wireless networks has been identified as a top priority for growing businesses," said Netgear product line manager Laurent Masia. "[Netgear is] now the only company delivering a family of wireless management products that exceed the requirements of the majority of businesses worldwide."