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NETGEAR Switches OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

NETGEAR Switches is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top LAN Switching tools. It is most often compared to Ubiquiti UniFi Switches: NETGEAR Switches vs Ubiquiti UniFi Switches

What is NETGEAR Switches?

NETGEAR Ethernet Switches, branded as NETGEAR ProSafe Switches, comes in all shapes and sizes, so you are sure to find the right solution to fit your business requirements.

If you're a small to medium sized company, you'll have three switching options NETGEAR Unmanaged, Plus, and Smart Switch solutions. If you're managing a large enterprise network or a campus network, then NETGEAR Fully Managed Infrastructures is the solution for you. All the NETGEAR Ethernet Switches and solutions are innovative, easy to install and use, reliable, and very cost-effective.

NETGEAR Switches is also known as NETGEAR Insight Managed Switches, NETGEAR GC Series, NETGEAR M Series.

NETGEAR Switches Buyer's Guide

Download the NETGEAR Switches Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

NETGEAR Switches Customers

Blaze Networks

NETGEAR Switches Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about NETGEAR Switches pricing:
  • "They are on par with other AV switch manufacturers, e.g., Pakedge, Cisco Small Business Series, and Extreme Networks. Though, they are closer in cost to Extreme Networks. They are more in the mid-range from an AV product price, maybe a bit higher. You can't beat their features compared to other vendors in that product range and capacity. AV specific only, they are mid-range price-wise."
  • "From a price perspective, the solution comes in higher than a small business product from their competitors. The solution is a bit higher, but it's a fraction of the cost compared to an enterprise switch. For example, a Cisco Catalyst can run approximately $13,000, where their Small Business Series may run $800 on the Cisco side. With NETGEAR, it falls in around the $1,000 to $2,000 range for most of what we use it for. Essentially, at this price point, you're getting a lot of enterprise grade features (e.g., that you would on a Catalyst) on an M4300."
  • "Compared to other large names in the marketplace, the price of NETGEAR's product is extremely cost-effective compared to what Cisco or Extreme offer."
  • "At its price point, nobody else can compare to what NETGEAR is doing at that 10 Gigabit bandwidth level. We are not seeing a lot of 10 Gigabit need right now in the marketplace. Though, we have done a few projects which have required it. We are still sort of at the 1 Gigabit requirement for the majority of our projects. Honestly, NETGEAR's 10 Gigabit offering has a better value than some of the other vendors' 1 Gigabit offering."
  • "The price to performance of the switches is excellent. The price point of these switches is great compared to big brands, like Cisco or Extreme Networks, with approximately the same functionality."
  • "Licensing is always a hassle and a pain point."
  • "We find the cost of NETGEAR hardware and additional services to be below average compared to the top tier. There are still cheaper products out there, but they lack in functionality."
  • "The price-to-performance of the solution is very good. You get very performance for a low cost per port. Compared to standard AV switching, NETGEAR is probably the best value out there."
  • "For its price, it scales well."
  • "The pricing is very good for 10GbE switches and you get a lot of throughput. It is about 60 percent of the costs of other switches from competitive manufacturers, which is really good."

NETGEAR Switches Reviews

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UC Deployment Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
When passing multicast video across the network, technicians don't have make changes

Pros and Cons

  • "Out-of-the-box, it works for our main use case. When passing multicast video across the network, our technicians don't have make any changes. Then, if we do need to make configuration changes for a custom scenario, the web interface is user intuitive so it's easy to use and change."
  • "An area for improvement would be creating a wizard that can do a lot of common stuff. Instead of having some manual configuration for common features, they may want to have a single wizard that could be put in place which would let you walk through creating multiple VLANs and different routes between VLANs in a wizard. Then, you wouldn't have to dig in so deep."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for Pro AV products, so multicast video and multicast audio passing across an AV system. Audio video is getting very network-based, so we are using it for network transport and multiple VLAN communication.

How has it helped my organization?

We work with a large variety of project sizes. This solution has come in to help our company in the mid-project size range, where you have a customer who needs two or three switches but doesn't have the budget for an enterprise grade switch that is $10,000 to $20,000. The NETGEAR product line fits great in that medium project size where you need to have some of those enterprise capabilities, or a switch with a bit more power behind it, but you don't necessarily have a huge budget. At the same time, it can also scale up to those large projects. 

A few of our projects have used NETGEAR switches as a core for video walls where we do a lot of Crestron NVX, which is a multicast video transport. They have used the NETGEAR switch as a core to pass that traffic over to a video wall with multiple streams. In most of our projects, we'll do one to two switches. The flexibility with the M4300 is they have anything from a smaller 12 to 24 port switch up to a chassis based 96 port switch. In our large projects, we typically go for the chassis based switch, which has up to 96 ports. That covers everything we need. Normally, there are one to two switches in different projects.

We're using 10 Gigabit switching in a limited respect for interswitch communication. That is our primary use case for 10 Gigabit or larger connectivity where essentially we have multiple switches connected to each other and need to pass multicast video or audio from one switch to another. We do have a few products out there that are using that for multicast video transport. From a switch perspective, it's been very positive and stable. Some of the other products have had issues, but that's not related to NETGEAR. They are passing on the high bandwidth traffic without any issues.

What is most valuable?

I find the flexibility they offer to be the most valuable feature along with the wide range of features that they have for its price. 

Out-of-the-box, it works for our main use case. When passing multicast video across the network, our technicians don't have make any changes. Then, if we do need to make configuration changes for a custom scenario, the web interface is user intuitive so it's easy to use and change.

My experience with the High-Bandwith AV over IP functionality so far has been very positive. I haven't run into many issues with their switches passing a lot of high bandwidth communication across the switch. We have had projects that are pretty small and others with 80-plus devices. Regardless of the size, it works once setup and is stable too.

Expandability is an easy feature for these switches that works fairly well.

What needs improvement?

An area for improvement would be creating a wizard that can do a lot of common stuff. Instead of having some manual configuration for common features, they may want to have a single wizard that could be put in place which would let you walk through creating multiple VLANs and different routes between VLANs in a wizard. Then, you wouldn't have to dig in so deep. This would benefit a lot of our technicians, though if you have a lot of networking experience then the settings make a lot of sense. The very common settings are easy to use. However, some of the more advanced concepts are where it gets complicated, so a wizard for users would make those easier. Therefore, the only area they need to improve on is creating a wizard to help with some of the more advanced features.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the M4300 Switch Series for about seven months. I started working on and testing them for our company last July.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As long as the firmware is up-to-date on the latest version available, SDVoE installation performance has been very positive. We have run 4K video from Crestron NVX across these switches and haven't seen any strange latency or delay issues. It has been very stable once setup. We are starting to roll this out to some of our medium-sized projects, which has been a very positive experience. There have been no major issues that we've run into.

It is definitely important to get the switches up to the latest firmware that is available. We did run into some issues early on in older firmware patches with multicast video and audio. NETGEAR support identified the issue right away. It was fixed in the software upgrade and we've had very good success in the latest firmware. For stability, just make sure you're on the latest firmware, then you should be good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good and beneficial. They have their larger chassis based switch, which goes up to 96 ports where you can stack multiple of those other switches together.

In our smaller projects, we may have two to four displays. In some of our larger projects, e.g., video wall or some of our other locations, I've heard that we've had up to 40 to 50 different displays.

We now have 21 different offices spread out across the country with installation technicians at each site. Each region will have their own different projects. Most of the time the install techs (or design engineers) will handle the switch configuration locally. Therefore, a lot of people in our company get their hands into networking. We have another central resource and me who are more specialized. There is a group of us who are in the higher tier networking in case we run into projects that are more complicated. I've worked on 10 to 15 projects with NETGEAR switches, but I know our other offices have done more. We deal with NETGEAR switches quite a bit. It's a mix of installation technicians and design engineers. In my case, I'm a UC deployment engineer with a networking background and am working on some of the larger networking projects.

How are customer service and technical support?

NETGEAR support is really good. They have helped us a lot and respond quickly. In most cases, if you get too deep into switch configuration, it is better to factory reset it and start from scratch. If you've over configured the switch or configured something incorrectly, that's the first step NETGEAR support will have you do. Don't overthink the configuration because there are a lot of options that you can go into the switch. Most of what you need isn't in-depth configuration.

We haven't had a lot of support issues. Once the NETGEAR Switches go in, typically they run and work. We are not doing a lot of return service work.

How was the initial setup?

For the basic features, it's pretty straightforward to set up. Out-of-the-box, it just works for multicast video. There aren't any additional settings that have to be made from our technicians on it. For our primary use case, we have three different networks: video, audio, and control. It is super easy to set up different VLANs and make our configuration changes. It also has a lot of the features that an enterprise grey switch would have, but not at the cost of a Cisco or Juniper. Most of our technicians can walk through the basic setup without a lot of help, which is huge on our part. 

For the Pro AV side, you definitely don't need to be an IT expert. It helps to have some IT knowledge/background, but you don't need to be an expert. Since it meets the Pro AV primary use case right out-of-the-box, this makes it easy for our smaller projects. Then, for setting up a DHCP server, creating multiple VLANs, and the typical configuration, most technically adept individuals can walk through the simple setup in an hour or two. The documentation from NETGEAR is pretty good as well. In most of our cases, you don't need to be an IT expert. When you're getting into more of the advanced features, such as quality of service and connecting to customer networks, then you definitely need a little more network background. However, that will be with any product.

If you are turning on some advanced features related to quality of service or doing routing traffic between VLANs, it is a little confusing at points, specifically the multicast running with ping. Some of those advanced features is where it does get a bit confusing because there are so many different options. 

What about the implementation team?

From a network configuration standpoint, most of the time I work remotely. We have our technicians onsite installing the AV equipment, then I will connect through their PCs and go to the switch. Normally, when I'm pulled in for switch configuration projects, it is between one to three hours, depending on the complexity of the project. Smaller projects, where it's a single conference room or a couple conference rooms, that's one to two hours. When it's a larger switch or environment, typically that goes on for two to four hours. That's about half the time I normally spend with competing products.

The implementation strategy varies depending on the project. Since we have such a wide range of projects and they differ a lot, I've created a basic standard for us and we modify it from there. So our standard typically is that we have video transport on one subnet, audio transport on another subnet, and then normal communication over different devices on another. It's somewhat standardized but we do have to modify it to a certain extent.

What was our ROI?

When we spec NETGEAR projects, the time it takes to deploy it for a project is a lot less than projects where I would normally spec an Extreme Networks, Cisco Catalyst, or enterprise grade switch,. The configuration time where I'm involved in is typically about half compared to other vendors. 

Another return on investment are cases where we are in a bid and have to be competitive with other AV vendors. These switches give us an additional option and a little leg up because we get more features and capacity compared to if we went with a higher grade or enterprise grade switch. 

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

I would give the solution an eight point five (out of 10) for price to performance. The performance is really good. It fills in a hole that other vendors have had for a while. What you can do with this switch for the price, it is hard to match using another vendor.

From a price perspective, the solution comes in higher than a small business product from their competitors. The solution is a bit higher, but it's a fraction of the cost compared to an enterprise switch. For example, a Cisco Catalyst can run approximately $13,000, where their Small Business Series may run $800 on the Cisco side. With NETGEAR, it falls in around the $1,000 to $2,000 range for most of what we use it for. Essentially, at this price point, you're getting a lot of enterprise grade features (e.g., that you would on a Catalyst) on an M4300.

Comparing the NETGEAR switches to their competitors in the enterprise space, they are on the cost-effective side. A lot of the features that they have are enterprise-centric, depending on the switch you go for. Most switches are between $1,000 to $3,000. Some of the larger switches get bigger or more costly. These are not small business class costs, but they're in that lower mid-range cost-wise. However, the features that you get are hard to match for the price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It fits into the Pro AV space better than a lot of other competitors. The benefit to that is their ordering structure is super easy compared to their competitors. You have one or two SKUs and don't have to fight to ensure you have the correct licenses, extra pieces, or parts. From an ordering standpoint, this makes it super easy for our different project engineers.

We use a bunch of different vendors depending on customer preference and projects:

  • I do a lot of Cisco, whether it's the Small Business Series or Cisco Catalyst product line. 
  • I do a little with Extreme Networks and their different product lines from switching. 
  • I have done a bit with Dell EMC.

They are on par with other AV switch manufacturers, e.g., Pakedge, Cisco Small Business Series, and Extreme Networks. Though, they are closer in cost to Extreme Networks. They are more in the mid-range from an AV product price, maybe a bit higher. You can't beat their features compared to other vendors in that product range and capacity. AV specific only, they are mid-range price-wise.

Pros for NETGEAR Switches: 

  • The price point and features that they supply/provide in their product fall into an area that's typically missed a bit by other vendors, which is huge. 
  • The web UI is pretty intuitive.
  • It's pretty easy to set up, especially compared to some of the other vendors.

Cons for NETGEAR Switches: 

  • While they have all these features that you can configure, it is a double-edged sword. As you go deeper into the switch, there are so many options that it can become a bit confusing at times. For most of our projects, we don't deal too heavily with a multicast routing between switches or some of the advanced features. However, when you do get into that, that is where it gets a little confusing.
  • They're not quite as heavy in the enterprise side of things. If our customers are standardized upon a particular vendor, like Cisco, it doesn't leave us any room to negotiate, and say, "We want to bring this other vendor in." E.g., NETGEAR isn't used quite as often in enterprise spaces. Most enterprise is either Cisco or Juniper. 

What other advice do I have?

It's a good switch. The only recommendation that I would have is to put in a wizard for some of the more advanced features. Outside of that, I'm very happy with the product. It does fit in a hole that's typically been missed by a lot of switch vendors who are not targeting the Pro AV space, like NETGEAR is. I would rate the product between an eight point five and nine (out of 10).

We are working with NETGEAR to train our employees on the product as well as get a closer relationship with them. It is more than just buying the product. We are working with NETGEAR to help develop the product a bit as far as referring back to them what we've seen in the field. Then, they're helping to train some of our offices on how to use it.

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.
Kevin Westcott
Network Delivery Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Reseller
Top 10
Reliable, cost-effective solution with a straightforward, programmable command line structure

Pros and Cons

  • "The big winner for NETGEAR is their modular switch: the 96X version. That is something that you don't see in the market anywhere else, except for Cisco who has it at a high level for a high expense. The ability to customize your own switch with their modules is a big plus for what we do in the market right now. Instead of having to piece together standardized switches, trying to make something work, or fitting the design into the mold, the modular switches are aware that you can make a mark in the industry because you purchased one switch and design with different modules added and removed later on for functionality."
  • "They need to continue moving forward with their consulting in the AV realm to find out what is needed. They are some differences in the M4300 line and the larger M4500 line right now. They could produce a 1 Gigabit variety that could be a bit cheaper that might fit into that, since the majority of the projects that we see are still in that 1 Gigabit bandwidth threshold. Along with that, a great option would be if it would provide the same modular ability on a lower level."

What is our primary use case?

We are a collaboration in AV design and integration company. The primary use for switches in our organization is anything AV related, control, streaming media, audio, collaboration, etc.

Our company is only commercial. We don't do any type of residential services. Our company only deals in commercial. I personally only deal with those larger projects. We use NETGEAR switches with video wall applications, for high intensity, high bandwidth streaming applications, and in mission-critical situations. The amount of switches and displays depends on the size of the project. I just designed one that had five switches recently, but the amount can range depending on the size of the project and building. While it depends on the size of the project, NETGEAR's stuff is scalable to use with any size project.

We don't necessarily have users in our company because we sell the solution. We have multiple clients throughout the country that we put the solution in based on their AV needs.

We are using the M4300 platform.

How has it helped my organization?

We have been able to standardize on a few of the major vendors. This has increased our efficiencies. We have been able to provide configurations on switches that we recommend. It's an easier configuration or setup process for our guys out in the field who are installing this stuff. Thus, we have been able to standardize on a grouping of switches, which helps speed up the process with our testing, quality control, and installation out in the field.

Netgear is the only switch manufacturer with a marketing push into the AV marketplace. They are the only major manufacturer out there who is testing and looking at what the AV requirements are as far as streaming capabilities, high bandwidth, and some of the stuff with new AV technology. They are designing switches to better support this.

What is most valuable?

NETGEAR solutions are very easy to use. The command line language and structure are very similar to what Cisco has. They have a fairly intuitive GUI for their system. Also, their command line structure is very similar and straightforward in its programmability.

The big winner for NETGEAR is their modular switch: the 96X version. That is something that you don't see in the market anywhere else, except for Cisco who has it at a high level for a high expense. The ability to customize your own switch with their modules is a big plus for what we do in the market right now. Instead of having to piece together standardized switches, trying to make something work, or fitting the design into the mold, the modular switches are aware that you can make a mark in the industry because you purchased one switch and design with different modules added and removed later on for functionality.

What needs improvement?

They need to continue moving forward with their consulting in the AV realm to find out what is needed. They are some differences in the M4300 line and the larger M4500 line right now. They could produce a 1 Gigabit variety that could be a bit cheaper that might fit into that, since the majority of the projects that we see are still in that 1 Gigabit bandwidth threshold. Along with that, a great option would be if it would provide the same modular ability on a lower level.

The only true con for NETGEAR is they are known more for residential applications, wireless routers, wireless pieces, etc. They don't have the reputation of a Cisco or Extreme on the enterprise side. That is the only real "X" against them right now. They have a business portfolio but they are not ranked as high as a Cisco or Extreme piece. They are working on this, as they don't have the name brand loyalty or recognition in the enterprise space that the other vendors have.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have sold a number of NETGEAR switches in the past year. They have become one of our recommended switches in the last four months. I've been with the company for about a year. We have recently standardized our recommended switch manufacturers and platforms. NETGEAR switches have become the recommended switch for us in the last four months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The model is very stable. I have had one here in my own test lab for four or five months running different configurations, resetting, or loading new configurations. I haven't had one problem with the switch. Their switch compared to some of the other vendors is a lot quieter when installed. In an office space, it's a lot quieter than the Extreme or Cisco switches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Countrywide, there could be 200 to 250 people performing different installs that may include NETGEAR switches. It just depends on the project and its requirements.

We don't have NETGEAR in our internal organization. We do have some NETGEAR in our test lab. We have a lab with all of the vendors that we recommend where we do all of our own internal testing. We also have the same setup in some of our quality control locations for testing.

How are customer service and technical support?

NETGEAR's technical support on the ProAV side for the M4300 is very knowledgeable on the NETGEAR product. They also do their own independent testing with AV gear out in the marketplace to understand how it works. They are very intelligent and knowledgeable on how their product interacts with the AV marketplace and products out there. Their knowledge stretches beyond just their independent NETGEAR switches, going into the market and what those switches support. I have had the pleasure of meeting them and they are professionals with high technical capabilities.

They have a standard warranty for what is on the market. Their support on the 480 side is exceptional compared to what is standard on the market right now.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is fairly straightforward. Depending on your company's individual standards, the unit can work straight out of the box if you want. It is very plug and play with little configuration. Depending on the size of the project and complexity, the GUI is very intuitive on setup. Also, the command line structure is very straightforward and similar to what people know from Cisco so they can do the setup via command line easily.

They have their setup for little to no configuration on switches that does work well out-of-the-box. That is not our particular use case. For security reasons, when we are setting stuff up, we have our own network standards which are a bit more strict than what they do. For their setup, it is great. Their out-of-the-box solution with minimal configuration is designed for the majority of the AV world to build a high-bandwidth, streaming system rapidly.

What about the implementation team?

Deployment of this switch is fairly quick for us since we have base configurations that we use with all of our network standards. The switch can be deployed very quickly. The exact time frame depends on the size of the project. Single switches can be deployed in 15 to 20 minutes. Multiple switches can be deployed fairly rapidly, but it depends on the size of the project.

For our implementation strategy overall, we have a set of standards that our company has used and approved. Those standards are already built into generic base configurations for all of our switch vendors. Therefore, whenever we receive the product, testing it, or setting it up in our quality control centers, our technicians onsite can use that base if they load it into the switch. Then, they can have that switch ready to go in 10 to 15 minutes max. Afterwards, they are able to test the traffic and streaming of the product outside of that, and we are able to test the function of the AV equipment without worrying about the switch configuration/function.

Depend on the size of the project, depends on the level of IT expertise needed. NETGEAR has made it simple for non-IT experts to deploy a single switch configuration rapidly without needing a lot of knowledge of switch configuration and terminology. For a single switch deployment, NETGEAR has made it easy for someone to deploy it without needing a certified network person to do it. When you get into the more complex and multiswitch pieces, then you will need either a network certified person to do that or lean on NETGEAR's pro AV support since those guys are fantastic in their knowledge and setup of IT stuff. They are always willing to help.

What was our ROI?

Our customers see return on investment when going with NETGEAR. When you are looking at some of our multimillion projects, the cost savings on the front-end is a big deal with clients. When using NETGEAR over a Cisco, there is generally a large cost savings in the infrastructure piece. Our customers can see that initial cost savings. Then, having a enterprise-rated switch in their systems saves them cost over the long haul. If they go with a lesser name vendor or manufacturer in the market (and there is a number of them), the reliability is not there. Reliability adds value as well. 

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

At its price point, nobody else can compare to what NETGEAR is doing at that 10 Gigabit bandwidth level. We are not seeing a lot of 10 Gigabit need right now in the marketplace. Though, we have done a few projects which have required it. We are still sort of at the 1 Gigabit requirement for the majority of our projects. Honestly, NETGEAR's 10 Gigabit offering has a better value than some of the other vendors' 1 Gigabit offering.

Compared to other large names in the marketplace, the price of NETGEAR's product is extremely cost-effective compared to what Cisco or Extreme offer.

NETGEAR as a product versus an AV matrix switcher is far cheaper in its design, but it is sort of an apples to oranges comparison.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I'm certified at the professional level in Cisco. I have also used Cisco series switches, Extreme switches, and Aruba/HPE switches. I am familiar with all four different manufacturers of switches.

NETGEAR has a high-level enterprise product in the 4300 series. Comparable to the Cisco Catalyst platform and Extreme Summit platform, NETGEAR has a much higher value option. Therefore, you are getting the same functionality for a better price point than you would with a Cisco or Extreme switch. They also have dedicated AV support which neither of the other two vendors have.

NETGEAR has a very high rating for price to performance compared to other vendors in the market. For example, Cisco's pricing is exponentially higher than NETGEAR for the same performance.

The difference is NETGEAR is a very cost-effective solution with the same internal capacity that some of the other vendors have. Functionality-wise, the switch works just as well as a higher-priced Cisco switch or higher-priced Extreme switch. The reliability is there. NETGEAR is selling a variety of models and the addition of the modular switch is a huge advantage in the marketplace. Other vendors haven't paid attention to the required uplink needs for larger AV and streaming deployments. NETGEAR has a pretty good feel for the pulse of the industry as a whole and their development toward higher capacity uplinks and bandwidth is exceeding what the other vendors are doing right now. 

I am very familiar with Cisco Meraki. It is a great solution. The issue with Cisco Meraki as a solution in an enterprise is the cost and what's needed for the streaming platforms. Meraki isn't as focused on the uplink requirements for the AV collaboration industry like NETGEAR is. 

I'm familiar with Ubiquiti, but we don't use or quote them at all because we feel like they are more of a residential product than an enterprise product. Therefore, we don't quote them for any of our projects.

There are some new vendors who are advertising in the market, like Luxul. These are new brands who have come from the residential side and are trying to push into the AV market. They don't have the name recognition that NETGEAR has and we have seen some issues with their reliability.

Part of the reason that we recommend NETGEAR in our organization is their M4300 platform is equivalent to what Cisco produces in their Catalyst solution and Extreme produces in their Summit series, as far as functionality. The name, NETGEAR, is known worldwide; it's a big vendor with a large support base. It is a quality product because it has the name behind it.

What other advice do I have?

I would tell anybody looking for switching solutions for their AV platforms to take a strong look at the NETGEAR M4300 platform, specifically their modular unit. It allows so much customability in the design and you are not stuck with trying to piece together multiple switches to get the functionality that you need. I really think that their modular switch is a game changer in the marketplace.

In the marketplace, we are putting this product into a lot of our projects. As the need arises for network products, NETGEAR is one of our recommendations for our designers for the design of their systems for our clients. It depends on what the client needs. If clients are open to it, we will put NETGEAR in. Some clients are restricted in what they can use. The majority of clients, from what we've seen, will allow whatever type of AV network we recommend for them.

The product is great. There is some room for improvement in some of their models. I would probably give the product line an eight and a half (out of 10). Their focus on the AV industry is long overdue from any vendor. As the AV technology moves towards being more IT based, which it has over the past five or six years, NETGEAR has been positioning themselves well to take a big piece of that. Their joining with SDVoE is a big deal as well, so their name is displayed prominently within that organization. The AV industry as a whole is taking notice of what they are doing.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner and reseller.
Learn what your peers think about NETGEAR Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
540,884 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Chris Stowe
System Engineer at Diversified
Real User
Top 10
Different models of switches with various sizes and form factors make this switch line very mobile

Pros and Cons

  • "The ease of use of these switches is very good because of the Cisco CLI. If you are familiar with CLI, then you can configure the switch that way. It also has a relatively straightforward web interface. Using the web interface is good for beginners or people who aren't familiar with Cisco CLI. However, having a common command line interface method is great for some of our more advanced guys who are familiar with it."
  • "Being able to pass AVB traffic over these switches, that would be a huge add. There are not many switches out that support that. The GS728TP NETGEAR switches used to or still do support AVB, but it would be ideal if the 4300 Series could support it as well."

What is our primary use case?

AV over IP: Sending video and audio over the network. We use this solution as part of commercial AV large format displays, video walls, and high-capacity HD real-time displays and monitoring.

In most applications, we are only using a couple of switches. Primarily, they are trunched. We have switches in different locations. E.g., we will have an endpoint inside of a classroom or with devices directly connected, but also with a main switching infrastructure and IDF. That is one of our use cases. 

Another use case is in our medical environment with some of the 10 Gigabit applications. We will have switches remotely located in an IDF in a data closet where we will have fiber run back to those switches. We have just one per operating room, but then we will have lags in-between switches in order to pass video from one switch to another in the event that we need to share video to other systems.

We primarily have been using it in testing. It has been implemented by our audio-visual group on two projects now with the Crestron NVX AV over IP solution. One of those projects used two switches connected, and those have been stacked for port count. Then, the other implementation was just a single standalone switch.

How has it helped my organization?

That the switches can save a configuration or even import a configuration via CLI is largely beneficial. It's similar to our current workflow with Cisco switches, so it doesn't require much of a curve as far as implementing those features or implementing a configuration that way. It is straightforward.

The ability to use the web interfaces is a big plus. For implementation, our company can quickly update firmware and not having to worry about licensing, which is a big deal. That's a big difference from some of the Cisco products as well as the Extreme products that for specific features require licensing. Not having that with the NETGEAR product is great. This aids us tremendously, as a company, to roll out these switches on multiple projects.

What is most valuable?

  • The new IGMP Plus is a handy feature. There is no configuration out-of-the-box to be able to pass a multicast video. This is probably the most beneficial feature of it.
  • The web interface is nice.
  • The overall usability of the switch seems to be going well.
  • One of the things I like most is the different variations in models. We have 24 SFPs and 24 copper ports (24 by 24). The flexibility of that switch is really good for our medical systems use case.

The ease of use of these switches is very good because of the Cisco CLI. If you are familiar with CLI, then you can configure the switch that way. It also has a relatively straightforward web interface. Using the web interface is good for beginners or people who aren't familiar with Cisco CLI. However, having a common command line interface method is great for some of our more advanced guys who are familiar with it.

The cost and ease of being able to roll out similar implementations of specific use cases is very beneficial. Plus, the ease of setup with the IGMP Plus feature to naturally support what we do on a daily basis is a huge benefit.

What needs improvement?

I have noticed one thing where we have taken up the multicast group interval time. We have needed to increase that setting. What we found happening were streams would stop until they were reestablished. By taking up multicast group interval time, it resolved that issue.

There has been talk in the roadmap from my conversations with the NETGEAR product development guys about a more streamlined web interface that is more friendly to audio visual personnel, such as general technicians. It would be comparable to a package type web interface. That is one of the conversations that we have had that would be beneficial to having a more streamlined web interface.

Something that we have also spoken about were VLAN profiles. E.g., preconfigured VLANs that would have a multicast traffic configuration applied where you can select a VLAN that is already preconfigured for standard 1 Gigabit IGMP based video, and then another VLAN that is configured for Dante audio. That is beneficial to where you can check port by port or VLAN by VLAN, enabling a specific protocol. It naturally sets QoS settings as well IGMP settings for that VLAN according to the type of traffic.

Another thing that would be a big ask is audio video bridging (AVB). Being able to pass AVB traffic over these switches, that would be a huge add. There are not many switches out that support that. The GS728TP NETGEAR switches used to or still do support AVB, but it would be ideal if the 4300 Series could support it as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the 1 Gigabit series of the 4300 for eight months. I have also been using the 10 Gigabit version of the 4300 for almost a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been fantastic. I have had zero failures.

Video is passing as expected, so I haven't noticed any issues with the switches failing due to bandwidth issues. No news is good news on this front. If it works, then that is great.

Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE) installations seem to work well. I haven't noticed any failures there. The ease of use for SDVoE is great. The IGMP Plus feature comes with the switch configured out-of-the-box. To be able to pass that traffic, that is a big plus for AV installations.

I haven't had any issues with the 10 Gigabit switching. So, it works great. I'm able to pass around 18 gigs worth of signal over Ethernet ports and SFPs without issue. No news is good news. If it works, that's great. 

Maintenance is typically done through our service department.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is one of the big pluses. There are different models of switches in the M4300 Series. The modular based switch is typically used as a spine switch all the way down to 48 Port 10 Gigabit switches. The different models of switches with various sizes and form factors make this switch line very mobile.

We do have plans to increase usage for these switches in our organization.

Typically, commissioning engineers are standing these up. These are our engineers who go to a site with systems in order to commission. They range in experience. For some of our newer guys, we put them on more simplified projects, then for some of our more experienced guys, we put them on the more complex, larger scale projects.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is much better than it was. That used to be one of the pain points. It took a lot of effort to get through to support and be able to get the support that we needed. Our relationship has been getting better with NETGEAR support.

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

We are typically a Cisco house. We still use Cisco quite a bit. Our in-house network group primarily supports Cisco. However, especially with these switches utilizing Cisco CLI, it is easy for us to cross implement. 

We chose NETGEAR due to the form factor, scalability, and price. It was a combination of those features put together as well as their focus on audio-visual solutions. Their initiative to make switches work well in an audio-visual environment, that's what we do. So, it makes sense for us to utilize a more cost-effective switch that is specialized to our type of traffic.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for these switches was very straightforward. Being able to navigate through the web interface is quite easy. Everything makes sense. The flow from left to right in the web interface makes sense. There are a couple things that were tricky, like setting up DHCP scopes. That wasn't very self-explanatory, so it required looking at a manual. Some added information like little help popups to guide or direct how to set up those settings would help. A little streamlined interface on the homepage with a couple of suggestions would be beneficial, such as:

  • Enabling IGMP, which already has a default with the IGMP Plus as a feature. 
  • Setting up a DHCP on specific VLANs.

What about the implementation team?

On average, we're able to configure the switches within 30 minutes. That is for most of our use cases, which are streamlined and straightforward. As they get more complex, that is where we are trying to segment more traffic to different VLANs and create DHCP scopes inside of those VLAN. Then, it takes a couple of hours. For most of our systems, we can be setup within 30 minutes or less.

As a company, we are working on creating a uniform implementation strategy. We're working on implementing a procedure for different types of projects to have a quick little start guide.

You do not need to be an expert, but you do need to know your terminology to understand basic things, whether it is IGMP or how to set up a DHCP scope. You need to understand what those are in order to set the switch up.

What was our ROI?

We haven't been implementing these switches a ton. Our ROI isn’t much at the moment, but the solution is something that we're looking to utilize more often.

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

The price to performance of the switches is excellent. The price point of these switches is great compared to big brands, like Cisco or Extreme Networks, with approximately the same functionality. 

Licensing is always a hassle and a pain point.

We find the cost of NETGEAR hardware and additional services to be below average compared to the top tier. There are still cheaper products out there, but they lack in functionality.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have used Extreme, Cisco, Pakedge, Luxul, and Aurora switches. Though, we typically use Cisco and Extreme.

NETGEAR won us over with its scalability, pricing, and specific implementations within AV switching.

We're testing it up against Cisco Catalyst and Extreme Networks 440 and 700 products without having any issues. We can pass the same video over these switches, though the functionality settings are a bit different. Some of the settings are not named specifically the same. So, there is a bit of a learning curve. However, we're able to get video to pass properly functionality-wise.

What other advice do I have?

We're getting into maintaining our network more. From a service standpoint, we do maintain networks. On rare occasions, we have uplinks to clients' networks where a client starts to maintain networks. Typically, if that is the case. It's not part of their workflow to upgrade firmware or make any changes to switches. They just like to monitor the status of the switches.

It is valuable for the AV use case. Test it in the environment that you're looking to utilize these switches, then create a process and procedure going forward on how to implement. Fortunately, there is not much of a process. That would be my suggestion.

I would rate them highly. I would go with a nine (out of 10).

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.
Jeff_Cooper
Information Technology Manager at King + King Architects
Real User
Top 10
Enables us to run our backups much more quickly and has a good balance of price, performance, and features

Pros and Cons

  • "SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that."
  • "The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times."

What is our primary use case?

NETGEAR is our distribution switch for our local area network. We have about 80 data hosts connected to our network. They go through another set of switches into this distribution switch. From there they connect to our gateway and to our servers.

The switches are on our premise and there's no special software other than that it's just a network switch.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization because now the entire network is quicker. A lot of users tell me that things seem faster but they can't really elaborate. My guess is everything is just a fraction of a second quicker going through the network and that adds up at the end of the day.

What is most valuable?

SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that.

It's easy to use once you actually read the instructions. There is some searching you have to do on the documentation to find exactly what you're looking to get done but it's all there. NETGEAR's forums were very helpful because people actually pointed me in the right direction when I had problems setting it up.

We use it for IT switching. It is the distribution switch for our network and then I have access switches that feed into this switch that are also 10-Gigabit. IT switching is very nice. I run my backups much more quickly. It works out to about as fast as I thought it would be. I'm quite pleased. It's definitely worth it for what you're getting; a lot of switches, a lot of networks. I looked at a lot of different possible models and products before I bought these and I settled on NETGEAR because I thought there was a good balance of price, performance, and features. And so far, it has worked out.

I have POE switches going into this switch, but I don't use this switch particularly to distribute power. The model I have is not a POE switch. It's just the data switch.

We have server aggregation. Our main file server is aggregated through two SRP interfaces on the switch.

We also have wireless access in our network, but it doesn't talk to this switch directly. It goes through one of our access switches.

What needs improvement?

The feature to change settings on the switch needs improvement. I understand why it's there, I can change the settings on the switch and I have to actually hit save to lock them in, otherwise, on a reboot, the changes revert to the earlier settings. I've forgotten to hit save a couple of times. It should have more of a big red obvious "You need to hit save" button to lock your changes in; that would have been helpful. There were a couple of times where things suddenly stopped working and I realized it was because I rebooted it and undid what I just fixed.

The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using NETGEAR Switches for three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far stability has been good. Now that we've gone live with them, I have not had to restart or shut them down at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If I had to do it again, I might've gotten a bigger switch with more ports on it because I'm using up more of them than I originally thought I would. But that's really not a scalability issue with the switch, that's just me not planning properly.

Only I am responsible for the maintenance of the switches. I'm an IT manager. 

In terms of size, we have about 70 employees, all of whom have ethernet connections through access switches to this switch. This is the core of our network.

I don't plan to increase usage much, if at all. This is what it's going to be for the next few years.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support. 

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

NETGEAR replaced some Nortel switches that were about 11 years old. They were end of life and they were not as fast. I had gigabit and 100 megabits switches. I am hoping to have these for another 10 years. I'm going to get 10-Gigabit and gigabit for my network speeds.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward once I figured out what I was doing. It was fine once I acquainted myself with the switch and with some of the features. I was not pressured to get this done quickly. When the pandemic hit, we all went home so I had an empty server room in which to work so I could try to see if they worked and if they didn't, I could try it a different way. I did not have to risk taking down the whole network with people there. That was just a fortunate happenstance.

My implementation plan was to set up this switch along with my new access switches, which were also NETGEAR. I set them up disconnected from our live network. I put everything together, including the SFP uploads, in test client and test phones, and set everything up the way it was going to be. About a month and a half ago, I went in, unplugged the old switches, put in the new ones, and turned it on. It was very quick and easy but it took about a day and a half because we have a lot of cables.

In actual time, it took about a month and a half to deploy. But in actual work hours, it probably took about four days because we were doing it in fits and starts because we were trying to move out of the office when COVID hit.

There's a learning curve, but it's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

What was our ROI?

ROI is a soft benefit. It's hard to know. I don't know if the old switches would've died this morning. 

We have them for two purposes. One, to speed up our network. Two, to refresh with new hardware that isn't a decade old. So it's hard to determine.

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

Technology keeps changing so you don't need to buy something that's going to last 100 years. Buy something that you know you're going to have to replace in five or 10 years and price it accordingly. We were told that the Nortel switches we had bought would last for 10 to 20 years and that we would never have to replace it. Networking got faster in the years between and frankly, those switches got filled with gunk, they physically start wearing out, and fans die. As long as you know that it has a five to 10-year window, why would you pay 20 grand a piece for a switch? I just don't understand that.

There are no additional costs. We pay for licensing, hardware, and cables. That is it.

The pricing was definitely reasonable, I don't know if I'd say low. I think all networking equipment is more expensive than it should be. But NETGEAR had the price point that least annoyed me.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Cisco, Juniper, Dell, and HP but they were all nearly twice the price of NETGEAR. I also had some hesitation to some. There seems to be some hesitation by some IT professionals to use NETGEAR for their enterprise and business networking, but so far, I'm happy.

We also considered Ubiquiti. We have a couple of Ubiquiti wireless access points. So I said, "Well, I'll just look at them." Ubiquiti was a possibility, but a lot of what this came down to was that there seems to be some hesitation in the IT world about using NETGEAR for enterprise and for business use. They do have a pretty large in-home user market. 

I have a couple of older NETGEAR switches that are at least as old as the Nortel ones that I just replaced. They have been on for 15 years and have never been down. I thought that if they're still going, they can't be that bad. I'll try it.

The primary reasons we chose NETGEAR over Ubiquiti, Cisco, and other products are because NETGEAR seemed stable and it frankly seems easier to set up, especially more than something like Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be: Don't rush it. Give yourself time between getting the switch and putting it in. That helped me do this properly. Have patience. Read the documentation. Be organized.

NETGEAR has the ability to label the interfaces and you can label different things on the switch in the web interface, while our old switches didn't have this feature. That helps me keep track of what's where. Being organized is really the key to all of this. When I am home I can dial into our VPN, look at the user interface of the switch, and I can tell you what's in every port on that switch.

I would rate NETGEAR Switches a nine out of ten. The only thing that would take away a point would be the user interface. The web interface sometimes needs refreshing and doesn't keep up with what I'm trying to do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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.
Mike Assel
Solutions Architect of Digital Media at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Out-of-the-box IGMP means our techs can just power them on and plug in and configure AV devices

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is definitely the fully functional IGMP snooping and querier, out-of-the-box, that the switch provides. With most if not all switches that we've worked with previously, at a minimum you have to enable a couple of different options... It's really a good feature to have that stuff enabled and fully functional out-of-the-box so that [AV techs] don't have to worry about configuring any of that stuff."
  • "One thing I have asked for, something that NETGEAR lacks that I would love to see — and from what I understand it's in the works — is a REST API to programmatically interface with multiple switches. That would be a great feature."

What is our primary use case?

We're an audio-visual systems integrator so our main use case is supporting AV systems. The main reason we're focusing on NETGEAR is for AV over IP solutions.

The environment that it's deployed in depends on the system or the solution that the customer is looking for. It could be as simple as just a single switch that has multiple hosts attached to it, or it could be a more complex system that has multiple rooms where all of the room switches would connect back to a central core switch.

We use NETGEAR for our customers' solutions. We don't have it deployed internally yet so there aren't actually that many people in our company who are using it on a day-to-day basis. They just configure it and get it set up and installed at the customer's site.

How has it helped my organization?

The out-of-the-box IGMP functionality has improved our organization because it is such a time-saver for our technicians. It means they don't have to worry about the extra setup that most other manufacturers require on their switches. They're able to just power them on and to plug in and start configuring the AV devices, rather than worrying about configuring the network. Organizationally, that saves us a lot of time on how we deliver projects.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is definitely the fully functional IGMP snooping and querier, out-of-the-box, that the switch provides. With most if not all switches that we've worked with previously, at a minimum you have to enable a couple of different options. With some switches there are several things that you have to enable. It can be cumbersome for AV techs who don't have much experience working with switches to configure those things, and difficult for them to troubleshoot. It's really a good feature to have that stuff enabled and fully functional out-of-the-box so that they don't have to worry about configuring any of that stuff.

Overall, the switch is very easy to use. Because they have the IGMP fully enabled out-of-the-box, in most cases an AV technician won't even need to configure anything on the switch. But in the event that they do need to configure it, their switches have a really nicely laid out, consistent web user interface that I think is pretty intuitive and easy to use.

The AV over IP works great as long, as the network is configured correctly. If you don't have the IGMP querier and snooping set up correctly, you can very easily flood the network to the point where it becomes unusable. Also, especially when you use multiple switches, you have to be very aware of how much bandwidth you need to connect the switches together.

The SDVoE also works great. It's just another type of AV over IP, so again, as long as you have all of the multicast stuff set up correctly, and the appropriate bandwidth between switches if you're using multiple switches, it works great. SDVoE is very easy to use. You get all of the value of being able to put AV on the network and all of the flexibility of it. So far it's been pretty easy for us.

And the warranty is one of the most compelling aspects of the NETGEAR switches. Other manufacturers would charge a lot of money for the exact same warranty that is included in the price of the switch with NETGEAR.

What needs improvement?

One thing I have asked for, something that NETGEAR lacks that I would love to see — and from what I understand it's in the works — is a REST API to programmatically interface with multiple switches. That would be a great feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

We got this switch about six months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been great. I haven't experienced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is another aspect of the NETGEAR platform that we find very compelling. The M4300, on its own, isn't super-scalable, although the M4300-96X is pretty scalable. But when you combine those with their 100 GB switches, it becomes extremely scalable and you can make very large systems.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. I've only actually had to contact them once, and the one time that I did they were a pleasure to deal with.

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

Before using the NETGEAR switches we used Cisco Catalyst and their SG small business series, as well as Extreme and Luxul. We still offer Cisco and Extreme, specifically when our clients request them.

We went with NETGEAR because somebody from NETGEAR reached out to our director of engineering to set up a meeting. That was when they were first pushing into the pro-AV space. Our director of engineering brought me into that meeting. When they laid out the functionality of their switches and the price point, with maintenance included, we thought it was a great fit for the solutions that we sell.

There are two things that jump out at me as differences between NETGEAR and Cisco The first is the price. The NETGEAR switches that have all of the features that we need are significantly lower in price than Cisco. And again, the maintenance is included for free, whereas maintenance has a pretty hefty price tag associated with it with Cisco. The second is that NETGEAR is putting an increased focus on supporting the AV integrator market, and that's something that we take a lot of advantage of.

How was the initial setup?

If you're deploying a single switch it can be done in a matter of minutes. You just take it out of the box, put it in a rack, and power it on.

Once you start adding multiple NETGEAR switches, it's not any more or less complex than doing so with other manufacturers' switches. You have to follow basic guidelines for making sure the VLANs are consistent across the switches and making sure that the interconnectivity between the switches has been configured correctly.

Our standard implementation strategy, when going into a new deployment, is that we have a set of base VLANs that we normally configure on the switches, and then a standard strategy of how we interconnect our switches. We try to replicate that as much as possible on each job. 

It takes just one good network engineer for deployment, at least for the network part of it, including configuration. And similarly, it takes just one for maintenance.

If you're deploying a single switch, you definitely don't need to be an IT expert to deploy it. To monitor it and troubleshoot it you do need to have some amount of IT knowledge, but I don't know that you'd need to be an expert.

What was our ROI?

The systems work reliably, and they work well, so that's a good return on investment.

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

The price-to-performance of the solution is very good. You get very high performance for a low cost per port. Compared to standard AV switching, NETGEAR is probably the best value out there.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be: Don't be afraid to look at manufacturers who aren't the big names in networking. You can find switches that will meet your needs without having to pay a premium for it.

What I've learned from using this solution is that it's possible to provide great features in a network switch without having to pay a ton of money for it.

The 10 GB switching is something that we're starting to see more and more of, especially as the costs keep coming down. In our company specifically, we actually do a lot more of 1 GB than 10 GB. The 1 GB AV over IP solutions are primarily what we're delivering to customers. We haven't much need to use the 10 GB solutions.

We use the switch as part of commercial AV large format displays, video walls, and high-capacity HD real-time displays. I don't honestly know, off the top of my head, what the number of displays would be. I typically just handle the network side of things so I'm not sure how large those installations have gotten. But once you move past having a single switch and you go to multiple switches, it does start to get increasingly complex to properly configure the network, as does the troubleshooting if the need arises.

They do offer a network monitoring tool that we plan on looking into more. We just recently got it set up and installed. That is the next thing that we'll be looking into, to see how much we can utilize it.

I would rate NETGEAR a nine out of 10. Once they get that REST API rolled out then it will be a 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Boas Hochstrasser
Chief Technology Officer at Genesis Technologies
Real User
Top 20
Peak performance for uncompressed 4K video streaming at a very affordable price point

Pros and Cons

  • "Since it has a web interface, it is easy to set up. You don't have to take three years of training somewhere for a lot of money."
  • "The ‘how-to’ guides could do with some improvements. We got in trouble following the stacking and Dante set-up guides. If these would have been accurate, we would not have lost three days."

What is our primary use case?

As an engineering company who pioneered network-based AV solutions, we strongly rely on our in-house network backbone. It is fundamental for all required AV protocols, as well as for all of the standard network purposes which our company uses.

In our case, SDVoE, Dante (professional audio), office traffic, etc. flow on different VLANs which are incorporated into one single physical network infrastructure. Divided over two racks, three switches from the 4300 series are running in stacked mode and provide 10GbE connections to the SDVoE encoders and decoders from ZeeVee, as well as to all our other gear, including Dante devices, computers, access points, and phones.

How has it helped my organization?

With the NETGEAR 4300 series switches, we have been able to test, demonstrate, and provide training on the ZeeVee 10GbE SDVoE gear, which we distribute.

Thanks to the availability of 10GbE, we have been able to show the difference between compressed 4K video streaming over 1GbE and uncompressed 4K video streaming with the use of the SDVoE protocol and 10GbE.

However, 10GbE is Ethernet in another speed. We had to learn how to handle it. This knowledge will be useful in future projects. For example, one of our upcoming projects will have 24 encoders and 11 decoders with two M4300-96X NETGEAR switches.

What is most valuable?

  • The stacking feature
  • The web interface, which makes it easy to use and set up.
  • The support for SDVoE
  • The 10GbE port speed

It provides the ability to stack switches together, and this is a huge time saver! Having one interface to configure the complete system, especially when it comes to VLANs, helps a lot. This administration is something that is time consuming when all switches need to be configured individually. Thanks to stacking, you have VLANs available on all switches, and you can just select what you want.

Since it has a web interface, it is easy to set up. You don't have to take three years of training somewhere for a lot of money.

What needs improvement?

NETGEAR's web interface describes settings with names and sentences which are different from other switch manufacturers. Therefore, you must figure out what each one does before you can use it. If you compare it to Cisco, for example, their web interface is a bit more intuitive.

The web interface could also be improved when it comes to multicast settings. Especially, that IGMP is spread to “Switching” and “Routing“ is confusing. At first, it is unclear what needs to be setup where.

Support for IGMPv3 querier would be appreciated. Currently, only a version 2 querier can be sent by the switches, which is a bit outdated, since version 3 has been on the market for a few years now. Cisco does support querier version 3 in their small business switches.

The ‘how-to’ guides could do with some improvements. We got in trouble following the stacking and Dante set-up guides. If these would have been accurate, we would not have lost three days.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been very stable, since the initial stacking issues were solved. It simply runs, which is the best. You can plug it in, set it up, and you can forget about it. Surely, there will be maintenance tasks in the future, like firmware upgrades, which can be done in-house.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can combine up to eight units in a stack. For its price, it scales well. To get optimum performance for SDVoE, the uplink bandwidth between the switches needs to be designed carefully. We haven't seen any type of switch-related bottleneck issues, so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our issues are immediately escalated to Tier 3 support, which has been very good. However, there are some issues that have not yet been resolved.

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

We were using and selling the Cisco Small Business 300 and 500 Series. But, a lot of different new firmware was being released for these switches, and with every firmware update came a different problem. The last thing you want is to have is a switch which behaves strange in your backbone, or on a project site. We just got fed up with it.

Seeing this, and the fact that Cisco does not have 10GbE hardware for a reasonable price, convinced us to switch to NETGEAR. Thanks to the increase in bandwidth, we were finally able to truly demonstrate the 10GbE solutions that we distribute.

Other than that, the change from Cisco to NETGEAR has not changed anything in our organization. Day-to-day things didn't change a lot and our office runs as always.

How was the initial setup?

At first, we stacked all switches together, then we started to configure the different VLANs. Just when we wanted to swap over to production, we recognized that there was a problem with the stacking configuration that we did.

The priorities of the switches must be set in a different way than we had assumed, so backup units can overtake management in case the main unit is down. If you don't set them properly, you somehow get the effect of the management switch changing from one to the other switch frequently.

Once this was resolved, we could switch over on the fly to production without any visible downtime and work normally.

Deploying Dante devices was also a bit problematic, since the stacked mode ‘how-to’ guides for Dante are not quite accurate, e.g., the setup of QoS resulted in a support case.

After configuring the VLAN (according to the manufacturer’s manual), we just plug in the SDVoE gear. This worked.

We implemented the 4300 series at the end of January. Altogether, our deployment took four days. Three days were lost on implementing Dante due to the weak ‘how-to’ guides.

What about the implementation team?

We did the deployment ourselves. There is no need to be an IT expert if you are deploying standalone. The web interface is common and easy to understand. You just need to know how to set up a switch. Only when it comes to the stacked mode, then you need to have IT knowledge. The rest of our team had no noticeable breaks during the transition.

What was our ROI?

We have saved time since we switched from Cisco to NETGEAR. With Cisco, firmware updates and troubleshooting afterwards were costing us hours. With NETGEAR, we update, and it all works as before.

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

The pricing is very good for 10GbE switches and you get a lot of throughput. It is about 60 percent of the costs of other switches from competitive manufacturers, which is really good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Since we were looking to go to 10GbE, our choices were either Cisco or NETGEAR. 

Ubiquiti wasn't a consideration. When I have worked with them in the past, there have been many issues. Therefore, I would not consider using them as reliable backbone.

What other advice do I have?

To have unlimited, uncompressed, 4K transmission, you cannot go with 1GbE, you need 10GbE. The 4300 Series is the way to go. 

We run two different High-Bandwidth AV over IP systems simultaneously and haven't seen any limitations yet.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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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ES
Chief Technology Officer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Reseller
Top 20
High Bandwidth AV-over-IP is fantastic, especially in leaf-and-spine, and the setup is very easy

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

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.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
DP
Chef d'entreprise at Winform
Reseller
Top 20
Reasonably priced, with good stability and generally problem-free

What is our primary use case?

We are primarily using the solution on the client side. We use it in our office.

What is most valuable?

I haven't had any issues so far. It's worked quite well.

The cost of the solution is very good. We enjoy the price point they offer.

We've found the stability to be very good. The performance is excellent.

What needs improvement?

The cloud service is not so good. They can't make some application on a cloud for the switch. It's not a good idea.

The management needs to be improved. If you manage the switch by the cloud, you can't manage it by the web interface.

The initial setup takes a long time. It's a long, drawn-out process.

The problem is not on the cloud services end. It's on setup. You have to make an account and you lose a lot of time. If you don't want to manage by the cloud, I don't understand why you have to register your switch there.

They have to make the feature to manage all switches within a team.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution for 20 years or so. It's been two decades. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's not very good in terms of scalability. You have to make a switch for the data center. It's limited.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never been in touch with technical support. I can't speak to how knowledgeable or responsive they are. We have an internal team that can handle troubleshooting for the most part.

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

I also use D-Link.

How was the initial setup?

The installation process is long. It takes one hour to make an account, to go to the switch web interface, et cetera. If you don't make an account, if you don't notice your switch, it's not fully manageable. You have to do a lot of things before your switch will be manageable. And you have to do this for all your switches. You lose one hour for every switch. This is not good. It's so very time-consuming.

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

The solution has a very reasonable cost.

What other advice do I have?

I sell the solution and manage it as well. However, I am not a customer.

If a client needs to switch from one solution to another, Netgear may not be right, as there may be some compatibility issues.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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