NETGEAR Insight Access Points Review

Effortlessly configure WiFi devices and manage utilization remotely or from the cloud

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to provide WiFi access for my customers with remote management of their WiFi devices.

What is most valuable?

The feature I consider most valuable is to be able to configure the WiFi devices and to see utilization remotely, or from the cloud.

What needs improvement?

A con is the backend system which is very, very slow. I don't understand why that has to be so slow when this is 2021. There should be no web application that is slow, especially from a company as large as NETGEAR. I would suggest they speed up the backend portal.

Another con is with the Insight Portal, and I've heard other people talk about this before as well. It's not too user-friendly. It's a nice UI, very user-friendly to the eyes, but as far as usability, I think it needs to be revamped. I suggest giving it a little more functionality and  revamp the way that the user interface is designed to be a little bit more user friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've had no stability issues with the solution. There a few instances when the switches will go offline and I'll have to ask the customer to reboot them. Everything else seems to be more stable than the switches and pretty much rock solid once they are set up and configured. They just run.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it's something you can scale easily with. The scalability is there because it's based on how many devices the client will need. The switches are, for example, the 24-Port and 44-Port and have SFP+ ports. So that's good and gives me 10 Gigabits between switches.

How are customer service and technical support?

I think technical support leaves a little bit to be desired. I do get quick responses, but it's very difficult to come to a complete resolution with the support. I don't know if it's because I'm getting a first tier guy for something that may be needed a little bit higher tier, but the support definitely needs to be ramped up.

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

Prior to NETGEAR, I was using switches and WiFi devices from Open Mesh. I switched to NETGEAR because Open Mesh had a licensing model I did not like. Also, their production for newer technology was kind of stagnant. For example, they still don't have a WiFi 6 solution yet, and most of their switches don't even have 10 gig ports in them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. I used the cloud backend to configure everything and then I either send the WiFi devices to the customer or I go on premises to install. Once you set up that first or second device then it's pretty quick and easy.

Usually when I get the device, like a switch, I'll bring it into my test lab and plug it in. I then register it under that customer in the portal backend, configure it, and then turn it off and ship it out. If it's just one switch and one AP it probably takes 30 minutes.

What was our ROI?

It's a well-priced solution for smaller businesses that have five to 80 devices. I definitely think my clients have seen a return on their investment.

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

In terms of pricing and licensing, the NETGEAR solution is reasonable. I usually get the Pro license, which is a little bit more expensive. Their pricing is perfect for smaller businesses who are money and budget conscious. There are a lot of other solutions out there that are two to three times more expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Prior to NETGEAR, I didn't evaluate other vendors as far as testing them or anything like that. I just researched a few other vendors like Cisco Meraki. Meraki has excellent firewalls, which I use, but their switches and WiFi devices are too expensive.

I researched Ubiquiti Access Points heavily, but I do not like them because of the fact that one, you have to have a controller to control them and two, their support is email only.

What other advice do I have?

I use the NETGEAR Insight management solution and in terms of user-friendliness, there are a lot of pros and cons. The pros are definitely that I can see a complete overview of all of my devices out there. The ability to configure the devices from the cloud is a huge plus.

The Insight management solution provides me with network management, monitoring and service deployment without having to go site to site. The solution enables me to manage my entire network from anywhere in the world. This increases my effectiveness. I have basically built my company to be mobile first. We rely heavily on taking care of our customers, via iPads and iPhones, versus having to run to a computer every time something happens.

It's awesome that the Insight management solution doesn't require additional cloud controller appliances. It's a big plus and one of the reasons I chose the solution. If I don't need another piece of hardware somewhere then that's a big plus for me.

One of the reasons I switched to NETGEAR is for their awesome Access Points throughput speeds. I was definitely using another brand before and I was getting twice the bandwidth through the NETGEAR devices.

We also use the Insight Pro management tool and it's great for managing multiple sites and businesses from a single interface and login. We can see an overview of all our customers on our phone or tablet screen. It's a great tool for us.

Being able to configure an Access Point and ship it to another location and then manage the device remotely definitely helped us a lot rather than having to truck out to somebody. It also allows me to have customers in various areas of the country where maybe I would not have had them before.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

WAC540, WAX610
**Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
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