What is our primary use case?
We use them for AV-over-IP, meaning devices that transport multimedia bits and packages across the network. We use about 5,000 switches a year and we use them all over the place. We'll use them on a video wall. We don't use a matrix router anymore. We'll run and operate AV through switches for distribution.
We're using the ProSAFE and we're using the M4300's and the M4500's.
How has it helped my organization?
We're seeing a 35 to 40 percent cost drop and, so far, we don't have any returns or any RMAs. No flaws.
What is most valuable?
The High Bandwidth AV-over-IP functionality of these switches has been fantastic, especially in leaf-and-spine. We've been able to build redundancy and they seem to outperform even the Cisco Catalyst, which is about twice as expensive as the M-series switches are.
The price-to-performance for the M4300s is phenomenal. It's the best-on-market.
We also like the ease of set up. The setup on them takes less than 15 minutes. They're fantastic. On a scale of one to five, the ease of use is a five.
The warranty rates a four or five out of five. It's a good warranty. We don't have any problems with the product, so we don't think about it.
What needs improvement?
It looks like they're going to come up with an auto-config, so if it's a slightly different switch, when you plug them together they will auto-recognize each other.
Also, if they could come up with ways to look at metrics on it while the video is capping through the system, that would be nice. There could be some interesting uses for that, but it's a long way off.
For how long have I used the solution?
We started transitioning to NETGEAR Switches seriously about seven months ago. It's gone really well. We're very limited in what we'll recommend and choose for our clients to build their systems with.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We haven't had one failure.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability? Love it. It was very cleverly designed in terms of the output ports and being able to plug it into a 10 Gb and be able to leaf-and-spine a system. I have not run out of capacity for any of the stuff I've been building.
When customers want to add on to their systems, to add on a switch, we can definitely add one on because the system is expandable.
How are customer service and technical support?
We've used technical support a couple of times and they're very helpful to our guys in getting things set up.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Our customers primarily switch from Cisco to NETGEAR. It's just a better switch for the same cost for small business: the 350s and 550s. I would even say that NETGEAR can now outperform a Catalyst on an AV transport.
How was the initial setup?
It's very straightforward to set them up. You put them into a system and you connect all your devices to them. Every system has a switch.
You don't need to be an IT expert to deploy and support your networks. We're plugging in devices on pre-configured switches. The switches are pre-configured to work within the environment that we're putting them in. Because of the low maintenance in setup, it's really easy to send our technician-level out for installation. As a matter of fact, we can install most of the items directly out-of-box, without even setting them up.
For deployment and maintenance we require one person per job, usually a technician.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing is great. The cost of the hardware is low. I think it would be bad for NETGEAR to start going down the road of a licensing model. We want a one-time, upfront cost.
They're not the lowest cost. There are a few solutions that have a lower cost, but NETGEAR is very value-oriented. If you're not considering NETGEAR switches, you're throwing money out the window right now. There's nothing on the market like it.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I'm familiar with many other solutions: Extreme, Luxul, Cisco, Aruba, and Dell, and none of them even come close to NETGEAR.
The others don't have IGMP Plus, that's exclusive in NETGEAR. And balancing PIM nodes and all that other stuff on a large network is a pain. It doesn't work that well. NETGEAR even has functions that the other switches just don't have.
With IGMP the querier is not necessarily equal on all switches. And the amount of buffer that NETGEAR has feels like it could take on twice the amount of the bandwidth that we're placing on it. It just feels like the NETGEAR switch was made to do AV multicasting, instead of trying to fit AV multicasting on a network switch. It feels like it was designed the other way around.