"We see more small businesses using VoIP, IP video conferencing and IP video surveillance, and wireless Access Points for office Wi-Fi," says Maggie Wu, product line manager for business switching, Netgear. Network switches connect up the network segments -- Ethernet cabling -- of an office network. "To take advantage of new multimedia applications," says Wu, "SMBs need more intelligent switches compared to traditional unmanaged network switches."
"Unmanaged" switches are the least expensive, but, says Wu, they are shy on increasingly necessary features. "An 'unmanaged' network switch' has plug-and-play connectivity -- you simply add devices -- but no ability to prioritize or otherwise control traffic, no security, et cetera."
"Fully managed switches" can do this -- and more -- and handle enterprise-sized numbers of network segments, users and devices, but are much more expensive, and may have harder-to-use command-line user interfaces (CLUIs) along with more features to configure and manage.
Smart switches offer a happy medium, like a web-based administrative interface, and, compared to a managed switch, fewer priority queues, less granular traffic management, and supporting a number of VLANs more appropriate to a small-to-midsized business. And, according to Wu, a smart switch can be half the price of a managed switch of similar configuration (e.g., number of ports, performance).
The new Netgear ProSafe GS110TP smart switch, says the company, "is designed for companies that want to enhance their network with a low port density solution with the combination of Gigabit speed and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability."
The Netgear GS110TP ProSafe smart switch has eight copper Gigabit Ethernet ports, for connecting to end devices, plus two Gigabit Fiber SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) ports that can be used to connect, via fiber, over longer cable runs.
The eight copper ports also provide Power over Ethernet (802.3af), which allows the ProSafe to provide power over the Ethernet cables -- 15.4W, sufficient to power VoIP phones, IP cameras, WiFi Access Points and other low-power devices, avoiding the effort and expense of running regular AC power lines to hard-to-access locations.
Other features include advanced VLAN (Virtual LAN) and QoS (Quality of Service, access control lists (ACL), 802.1x port authentication, and rate limiting -- all administrable via the web interface.
Additionally, Netgear's new switch includes power saving/reducing features, and is fanless, making it suitable for offices and other low-noise environments.
According to Wu, the Netgear ProSafe GS110TP smart switch is intended for small-to-midsized businesses, such as ones looking at unified communications, and/or deploying wireless LAN service throughout their premises, and is also useful for "enterprises looking to bring this intelligence to the edge of the networks, like lobbies, conference rooms, and engineering labs, where previously, unmanaged switches have been used. We have customers from businesses of all sizes who need powerful smart switches that reliably move growing volumes of voice, video and data traffic at optimal levels."
Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra Super-Simplifies Media Content Storage, Access
In a separate announcement, Netgear has introduced a new family to its ReadyNAS line of network-attached storage (NAS) products, the 2-, 4- and 6 bay ReadyNAS Ultra systems, suitable for businesses, homes and service providers, with prices starting at MSRP $599 for a two-bay system not including hard drives up to $1,349.99 MSRP for an Ultra 6 with three 2TB drives.
Thanks to embedded technology from Tivo, Orb and Skifta, the ReadyNAS Ultra can store content from Tivos and stream it out; stream stored content like Blu-Ray to mobile devices and browsers without format conversion challenges; and be accessed from any DLNA-certified device, such as a PlayStation at a friend's house.
This is about consuming media anywhere, as long as you can get to it," says Drew Meyer, director of storage marketing, Netgear. While primarily targeting prosumers -- media-oriented geeks in particular -- "This lets an SMB try shared -- network-attached -- storage, or get into the media side, like providing access to training videos," suggests Greg Schulz, Founder of the StorageIO consultancy.
Several ReadyNAS models are available now for pre-order, with shipping to start in mid-July; the ReadyNAS Ultra 2 is scheduled to ship in October.