Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
November 2022
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Greg Phillips - PeerSpot reviewer
Information Technology Consultant at mytechcoach
Consultant
Top 10
Without using a third-party, I can deploy a network with software built-in
Pros and Cons
  • "I am all about simplicity. With the Insight management solution, I don’t need an additional cloud controller, appliance, network manager, or PC/server to configure and manage my access points. You have to look at cost, and everything has a cost. There is a cost to using Insight. But if the cost is reasonable, I don't want another layer. The ability to deploy a network and then have that software built-in, without having to go to a third-party, is big. Also, the less pieces that I have to call in on, the better. So, when I'm calling NETGEAR, it's not like I'm using some third-party piece of software to manage their product. It doesn't add that layer of complexity, which is key."
  • "The registration is annoying. I have to go back to NETGEAR and log tickets. Access points and router registration are something that they need to address in Insight. They need to fix the bug of getting the devices activated and enrolled in Insight without fighting with them. I have probably done about six of these in the last month. You get to see patterns."

What is our primary use case?

My IT business is managed services for companies who are under 50 employees. It is deployed for offices, office buildings, and office suites, but probably no more than a small office building. Typically, an office suite could be as little as one or two access points or as big as 10 access points.

This solution helps an MSP, like me, manage my time better because I have more visibility and the ability to control things from a distance.

I use the WAX610 access points. It varies with the router, sometimes it is a BR100 router and a lot of times it is an SXK80.

How has it helped my organization?

I access it remotely. With Insight Access Points, this is important because I am a managed service IT provider. I am one person. I am not always onsite. To be onsite is costly. I can see when someone says the network is going down from my home office, look at it, and do some root cause analysis to see why it's going down. For example, on the modem, there is an issue with the circuit coming in. Or, I can see one of the access points hasn't gotten some firmware so it's not coming back online. That is all helpful, then I can do one or two things. I don't always have to go out there. Some of this stuff can be managed remotely or with the assistance of the client. We can solve the problem without all the labor, driving, and time.

My understanding is if I were to set up another network in England, then it would be the same thing as managing it here. It would just be a different time zone, but I should be able to access it in the same way. This is really important to me. Since COVID, people, like me, who are smaller providers need flexibility. We could be on the road. I could be at another client. I could be camping with my solar panels and gear. So, if I can keep the visibility of the network wherever I go, it makes for a better lifestyle.

A huge piece for small providers is getting away from things being mechanical and putting stuff into the cloud. Even if you can't replace something, seeing and understanding what is going on is 90% of the problem because replacing it is pretty easy. You could send someone an access point, then they could plug it in where you have one that was down, and you can walk them through it. Like, "I want you to give me that serial number because I am going to add it to Insight," and away you go.

If I was on the road and saw that the network had an access point that was broken, I could theoretically get them the access point. I don't have to drive all the way back or drop everything I am doing at another client. It is very good in that way.

It frees me up to do other things, because I am less reactive and not going on site as much. It creates a lot more time in my day to attend to real fires. I can take on more and not have to hire someone. As a young business, that is really important. It's not that I don't want to hire someone. But, at the beginning, you're trying to build something and do as much yourself. So, it enables me to work without needing to have as much help.

What is most valuable?

Once the network is set up, you have the ability to:

  • See when things have gone online and offline, because you want to know about things before the client. 
  • Know if a firmware update that you have on a schedule, and you manage, was successful or not. 
  • Look at traffic, e.g., what are these access points being hit with as far as traffic? Looking at traffic visualization, you can see how many devices are hitting it and when is its peak usage. That's helpful.

Where you have lots of access points, you can see which ones (over time) are getting hit more than others. It's like, "Hey, wait a minute. For the most part, these guys are using two access points. They tend to be congregating in this area. So, do I need to add a third to take some of the load off?" You're being cognizant of how the network is being used. You can see all that remotely and don't have to be there.

When I first go onsite, I implement the router and access points. Then, I add them to a site that I have created on the Insight management solution. I create a portal, then I add the client's devices and manage as many of these portals as I need to. So, as I'm spinning up a network, I'm always creating a little home for it on Insight.

The Insight management solution provides network management, monitoring, and service deployment across multiple remote and local sites. This makes it so I can take on a lot more. It has taken it from a very mechanical kind of world of having to be there to one where I can, within reason, do a lot of things remotely. This means now you can do more with less, i.e., you don't need as much staff.

What needs improvement?

The user-friendliness of the Insight management solution is good. Like everything, it has its idiosyncrasies. Sometimes, it is a challenge when adding a device. Certain devices have been harder to register. I'm not trying to knock it. I'm just trying to say everything has its areas of improvement, and device registration might be one area. NETGEAR is on this and addressing this issue.

The registration is annoying. I have to go back to NETGEAR and log tickets. Access points and router registration are something that they need to address in Insight. They need to fix the bug of getting the devices activated and enrolled in Insight without fighting with them. I have probably done about six of these in the last month. You get to see patterns. However, once it is up and running, it's so useful to me that I don't mind. I'm a tech guy, so I don't mind dealing with small glitches.

I use the Insight management solution app on my phone. Though, it is not as good as managing network access points on my computer. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for a little over a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The throughput on the server serves up the GUI to show me the network. Occasionally, there is some lag. In all the cloud apps that I use, I would rate them very well. I would rate Microsoft a little bit lower down in their apps. 

I have never had an issue with throughput on the actual devices. It has only enhanced their network from the customer perspective of the device.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am only doing the very small SMB market. However, my impression is I could scale, if I needed, to a full hotel or office building. It wouldn't make me shy. I might be using different routers and different firewalls, but the access points have no problems scaling, as far as I can see.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good and responsive. Nice thing is I have built some relationships with the people I call because there are often the same people when I call back. I like that. Even though it is a big company, I get some of the same people. It is always nice when you have a relationship and accountability.

I have called them at various times. During the day is a popular time. However, I might be at a veterinary hospital, then I'm calling them at eight o'clock at night, and the consistency has to be there. So far, it has been there.

Imagine you are onsite and trying to troubleshoot a problem on a network. If I'm not onsite, I could call NETGEAR because I have Insight. I can look at things like, "Hey, you know what guys? I'm seeing that this one access point is just not coming back online." I don't have to be there to do that. It is an app that they are conversant with. If I called them up with a third-party app, then I would be like, "Well, unfortunately, can you get to the site to be able to login to the NETGEAR equipment?" Or, they might say, "Do you have Insight?" So, it provides that level of efficiency.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was using a hodgepodge. I was using a lot of Linksys and D-Link. I still do use some D-Link, because I have other services and what is important to me is selling phone systems too. Before I went to NETGEAR, I wanted to be sure that their network would work well with my Voice over IP systems, and I'm satisfied that it will. However, at first, I was using a lot of D-Link and Linksys.

There is a clear disadvantage for keeping multiple pieces. I still do keep some Linksys where it does not make sense to do NETGEAR. When you can consolidate around a vendor, your efficiency and understanding of the product, as well as how it's deployed, get better and more efficient. If you have lots of different vendor solutions, you have to understand how each one works.

I have used Ubiquiti. There are a few tech firms in the area that love the Ubiquiti product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. 

For the flat networks that I am setting up, it is pretty quick. If it is just an access point and router, then the biggest amount of time is waiting for the system to get its updates and apply them. Your time is a function of the system getting its updates and enrolling it, then you have to hang the access points. If it is a simple network where you don't have to get up on ladders and install too much hardware, then it could be in a small office in about an hour. It does depend on how complex the network is. For example, a gym had a Comcast router with about 100 people probably getting on that system, and everything was dropping. They have TV and biometrics through WiFi on their clients, but it was not working. Within an hour or two, we could bring up a new network, they can be back doing their classes, and everything is running without stuff getting dropped. This is an example where speed helps because people are using the space the whole time with a lot of devices. They want it to be resolved quickly.

What about the implementation team?

For things like heat maps, I can take the building and give them the materials, layout, and what I'm trying to achieve. I can go back to one of their engineers who knows their equipment really well and we can put together the proposal, e.g., how many access points we will need, what type of router, and if we need additional third-party products like a firewall. I can do that all with NETGEAR. It is good because two eyes are better than one, and I am one person. So, I rely on them.

What was our ROI?

I am all about simplicity. With the Insight management solution, I don’t need an additional cloud controller, appliance, network manager, or PC/server to configure and manage my access points. You have to look at cost, and everything has a cost. There is a cost to using Insight. But if the cost is reasonable, I don't want another layer. The ability to deploy a network and then have that software built-in, without having to go to a third-party, is big. Also, the less pieces that I have to call in on, the better. So, when I'm calling NETGEAR, it's not like I'm using some third-party piece of software to manage their product. It doesn't add that layer of complexity, which is key.

This solution has been a big return on investment. The big thing for me is I can deploy a system in a small office for under $1,000. I do not have to pitch a big networking organization coming in with a $10,000 solution that is unneeded. I can pitch something that is a couple of grand and make some decent money off of it, then move onto the next one. I am not a big fan of using enterprise equipment, like Cisco, in small companies who don't need a lot of their feature set. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For a little guy like me, it is very cost-effective. I am able to have the tools of the enterprise networker on a pretty reasonable budget. 

The Insight management solution’s pricing helps to get people onboard because the first year is free. On bigger networks, you need to have clients who buy into managed services. If you don't, meaning someone is not going to buy managed services, then at $10 an access point, or whatever it is on a big network, I can't maintain that. However, for people who buy into having someone monitoring their network, it is at a reasonable price point.

Maybe they could monetize it for a big network, not every single device, or make it a lower amount. For example, if you have six or seven NETGEAR devices, they should cut a break on how much it costs per device, because that is where it gets costly. When you have a NETGEAR switch, a NETGEAR router, and NETGEAR Access Point, you don't want to bring everything online because it cuts into the managed service fee, i.e., what you are charging the customer. I'm selling the customer on having network monitoring, but there has to be a happy medium. It can't be so expensive. Otherwise, NETGEAR loses and I lose.

I can source the stuff pretty quickly wherever I go through the distributor. There is pricing available at NETGEAR if you can spend between $2,000 and $5,000 on a solution. So, there is special pricing that they can help with. The vendor's reps are very responsive. They have a good channel system, and I don't know about Ubiquiti and Meraki pricing. As far as partnering with me, they do a very good job.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

About 10 years ago, I was using Cisco Meraki extensively when I was working at a big WiFi vendor. I haven't used it a lot recently. Those guys blazed the trail on a lot of stuff. They came out with managed access points way back. Their app wasn't as developed as what Insight was, but I also judged it many years ago. I would say the solutions are about the same. I don't have Meraki's current product line to test, so I can't do a current apples-to-apples test.

I like simplicity. I am not a Cisco network guy. I think that this stuff gets overused. For its cost and place, it is great and better for clients that have more complicated networks. However, I find NETGEAR products a lot easier to work with. So, I would go with NETGEAR.

What other advice do I have?

Set up a relationship with NETGEAR and get yourself a relationship with the rep and engineer so you have that back-end support for the pre-sale solution. Set these devices up in your house first, add them to Insight, and get to know the idiosyncrasies. Then, when you get into the field, you will be well-prepared.

You don't have to do all this yourself. There are a lot of resources. Once you find a partner who is a good channel partner, i.e., one that wants to work with smaller guys like me and has good resources, then you don't need to figure it all out yourself. You have a team if you partner with someone like NETGEAR. This is not just a product plug. I have worked with different vendors and some vendors want to collaborate and have a lot of resources, and some don't. They work for the little guy, and that is very important to me.

It can say, "Heads up. I have an access point." I could do it that way. However, in a lot of these flat networks, I wouldn't have to do it that way. So, I could bring an access point to me first, plug it in, put it onto Insight, and then have the customer literally just put it in place. I could do that. In most cases, I wouldn't need to, because in these flat networks where they're not requiring too much programming, I can ship it directly, have them plug it in, and do it remotely with their help. This is more efficient, depending on the client. I can do this with tech savvy clients, but not everyone.

It gives me enough information for what I need, but there is a lot more I can do with it. It would provide me more if I had more things deployed. For example, they make captive portals, but I don't tend to deploy many captive portals.

Most of my clients are pretty small. As they scale or get more complex, the captive portals would be something I would be setting up to collect customer information. That would be more data that I would be able to provide. At the moment, it is more:

  • Are these access points getting overworked? 
  • Are they getting their firmware? 
  • How is the uptime on these things? 

It's those kinds of things that I am looking at for my business.

I would give it a solid nine out of 10. The only reason it is a nine is the frustration with registering the product to get it on Insight. That is it.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Operations Manager at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Scalable, priced well, but difficult configuration

What is our primary use case?

The primary use of Cisco Wireless is for IT solutions. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for approximately 10 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I find the solution to be very stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is highly scalable.

We have approximately 1500 users using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been satisfied with the technical support of Cisco Wireless.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is not too difficult but the solution could improve by making the configuration easier.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation of the solution ourselves. 

We have approximately 10 engineers and managers that do the implementation and maintenance.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of the solution is fair.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated Aruba, D-Link, and Ruckus solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Cisco Wireless a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
November 2022
Get our free report covering Huawei, Ubiquiti Networks, Aruba Networks, and other competitors of D-Link Wireless. Updated: November 2022.
655,113 professionals have used our research since 2012.