Networking vendor Netgear has announced two new solutions in its ProSAFE business-class wireless family, the WC7600 Premium Wireless Controller, and the WN370 Wall Mount Access Point. Both these offerings are designed for mid-sized hospitality facilities, K-12 schools, colleges, senior centers, assisted living centers, and other multi-tenant sites.
“A lot of this revolves around the hospitality business,” said Thomas Cheng, senior product line manager at Netgear. “Today they all have to have wireless, and some charge for it, and some don’t, and some offer good quality, and some not so good. We are really focused on the 2-3 star hotels, not the 4 and 5 star ones. We may get to those some day, but not today. We are especially focused on the franchise hotels like Best Western and Holiday inns, where the guy who manages the system might be a small VAR, but might even be the front desk clerk. They aren’t experts, and need an easy to use solution. They also need a cost-effective solution for wireless because their price range makes it harder to them to charge for wireless.”
Cheng also singled out a specific segment of the education market for these solutions.
“We aren’t focused on big schools and universities, but on wireless networks for K-12,” he said. “This is a strong market for us, and is growing rapidly. It’s also a market where the people who manage the wireless are often not IT guys at all, and are often younger teachers who are considered to be ‘tech- savvy.’”
The new ProSAFE WC7600 Premium Wireless Controller supports centralized management for the complete range of Netgear ProSAFE Managed Access Points, including single band and dual band products, with 2×2 and 3×3 options, as well as the newly announced WN370 Wall Mount Access Point. It can support several thousand concurrent clients across 150 access points in a stacked arrangement. An upgrade over the WC7520 controller, it features 900 mb/s speed compared to the WC7520’s 600 mb/s.
The WC7600 will list for $USD 3079 with 2 basic access point licenses.
“We are offering a bundle of 1 controller and 10 high end access points for an $11,500 list price, which is a small discount which gives 10 controllers for the price of 9,” Cheng said.
Cheng said they are also significantly dropping the price of the WC7520.
“Controllers have been expensive but we are adjusting the price of this to go after the standalone access point market,” he said. “It has always been between $2000-$3000 for centralized management, but we are bringing down pricing to affordable, with a street price of around $1200.
The other new offering, the ProSAFE WN370 Wall Mount Access Point with Power over Ethernet (PoE) offers a compact form factor specifically designed to enable wired and wireless connectivity in mid-sized multi-tenant sites, reducing the cost of running multiple Ethernet cables to each room.
“This is a nice product, which is the first in the market that is really targeted at those 2-3 star organizations with in-room wireless access,” Cheng said. “It goes directly into the electric junction boxes.”
The ProSAFE WN370 Single Band 2.4GHz Wireless-N Wall Mount Access Point has a MSRP of $USD 219.
Cheng noted that two additional products, the WNDAP660 Premium Wireless-N Dual-Band Concurrent Access Point, and the WNDAP620 Premium Wireless-N Dual Band Access Point: are going through software enhancement. Previously standalone deployment products, they can now be done with centralized management. Their MSRPs are $USD 829 for the 660 and $USD 715 for the 620.
Finally, Cheng said that Netgear itself provides a free no strings attached consultation with the customer.
“We just need the floor plan and 15-20 minutes, and within 48 hours we submit an 8-10 page report to the customer about how many access points they need and where to place them, and we set up a phone call between the partner and the end user,” he said. “Our goal is to deliver the right type of solution for our targeted segments.”