What is our primary use case?
It is a multi-building campus. This way, when we are in-between buildings, we have them meshed together. Then, we can stay on the same WiFi throughout all three buildings. It is in a church, which I have one in my house. Then, we have a church that I go to, where we have three in one building, two in another building, and five in the third building.
How has it helped my organization?
I can deploy and manage multiple remote and local sites via this system. I'm an electrician too. I did all the power for the building, and when I'm offsite, I can still help them out. Then, at my house, if my kids are not doing what they're supposed to, then I can shut down my WiFi, so they have to get busy.
The solution enables me to manage my entire network from anywhere in the world, which is very important. The church streams on Sundays and Wednesdays, and with work, I do a lot of travel. So, I'm not always onsite to be there to help them out if there are any issues with the network, but I can help them out remotely.
As long as it is on the cloud, I am able to configure an access point and ship it to another location, then manage the device remotely. This is nice because it is simple and easy.
What is most valuable?
The meshing capabilities are the most valuable feature. When I am going in-between buildings, my phone doesn't have to pick up different WiFi. They are all the same. Even in-between the buildings, I stay connected. They are strong devices.
We use the NETGEAR Insight management solution. It is pretty simple and easy to use. It is an easy way to update the devices that I have: five switches and a firewall. It is an easy way to keep all my other devices updated.
I have used the Insight management solution app on my phone. That is usually how I access it. I use my phone most of the time, which is a lot easier than getting my tablet out or bringing up my laptop.
The solution’s throughput speeds are good and super fast.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using it for about a year and a half.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I'm happy with the stability. It is very consistent, and there have been zero issues.
We have had awesome wireless access throughout the whole campus in all the buildings. With the COVID-19 and the pandemic along with the streaming and all that we have to do now, we haven't had any issues.
An update of firmware on this stuff is about it for maintenance. I also get compressed air and clean my devices a couple times a year.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This solution is very scalable.
I have them unlocked because each access point is supposed to be able to handle 600 devices. We don't have 200 people on campus at any given point, most of the time.
At this time, I'm the only person who maintains it.
It's really getting used on Sundays and Wednesdays. However, throughout the week, there are just a few people in and out of three buildings using it.
How are customer service and technical support?
They changed the Internet provider on campus, and that changed the IP address. So, I did use NETGEARS's support, and they were really helpful.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Before, it was just pretty much a residential system, which was different throughout each building.
At my house, I just had a regular wireless router. Right now, I have WAC540.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is pretty straightforward. I am an electrician. I hook up switches, do infrastructure, etc., but I'm not an IT guy. I have hooked up multiple switches on their sites with PoE switches, and we had zero issues.
All of our devices are unmanaged, so it takes no time at all. I pretty much just plug and play.
What was our ROI?
With the Insight management solution, it is awesome that you don’t need an additional cloud controller, appliance, network manager, or PC/server to configure and manage your access points. It's a money-saver because I don't need to have somebody else come in and manage any of the equipment. I can take care of it anywhere in the world, as long as it is online.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
It wasn't much more than 100 dollars a year. For the devices that we have, the pricing was pretty fair.
They have good, reasonable pricing, so I can pass that price difference onto my customers.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did evaluate other vendors. I just feel more comfortable with NETGEAR over a Cisco or something else, because of NETGEAR's ease of use and configuration. Also, the sales guys that I dealt with at NETGEAR were really easy to work with. They explained a lot to me.
With the NETGEAR solution, you don't need to spin up a controller. Whereas, with Meraki, you do. This was one of the big deciding factors of going with NETGEAR.
NETGEAR is just so much simpler to use. That is compared to every other platform, like Cisco, Aruba, and Ubiquiti.
I have only been using NETGEAR mainly on this type of stuff. So, I don't have anything to compare it to.
What other advice do I have?
I am very happy. We have made other purchases with NETGEAR products since the initial purchase.
They are the way to go with their customer support as well as their easy equipment installation.
We built a system, which is way above where it needs to be right now. So, it will be a long time before we have to increase it.
My biggest lesson is to use the NETGEAR products because it was so easy.
I would rate it as a 10 out of 10, but there is always room for improvement.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?