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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

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NETGEAR Switches Video

Archived NETGEAR Switches Reviews (more than two years old)

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Josh Duguid
Systems Consultant at DBI Systems
Consultant
You can stack different models of switches which makes the scalability great

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to mix and match is invaluable. So, we didn't have to run massive super extensive switches in the data closets where it wasn't necessary. Being able to manage it all from one place, as all your network configuration settings went live across your entire building from one management console was really handy."
  • "You are not limited in terms of stacking ports, and especially, if you're using the 96X as a core switch, the scalability, I could see this being very large. If you're using a type of a hybrid topology with a core switch going out to multiple switch stacks, or something like that, I could see the scalability of this being very good, especially considering the kind of backplane switching capacity on the 96X."
  • "I would like an email notification in case of errors or failures. If it was possible for the switch to email out an error log or notification note, especially in cases where we have the switches offsite (on the other side of town), then if something was to go wrong, it would be great to know about it before our client goes to use it for a big event, and it doesn't work. While I know that it does do SNMP, which is sort of standard, in the AV world, that is not always an option for us. We are usually running our own little network box and don't always have access to an SNMP server. We may just have simple Internet access or something similar."
  • "The IGMP specifics of the web management console could use a bit of clarification."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for this switch was for when we were involving the more intensive AV over IP stuff, specifically the SDVoE products that NETGEAR has partnered with. The reason that we picked them over competitors was knowing that they were one of the founding partners of the SDVoE Alliance, which gave us a lot of assurances that the product would work well in this type of deployment. 

In our experience, any type of AV over IP stuff has always been plagued with some sort of network hiccuping, and there is always a big learning curve. Therefore, knowing that NETGEAR specifically worked with the SDVoE Alliance to make it work, this gave us a lot of confidence going into this project.

The use case was for a high school's distributed audio/video system. So, it ran audio/video in multiple gymnasiums, gathering spaces, and small collaboration rooms.

The reason that we went with SDVoE is the amount of sources and destinations were high enough, where if we were ever going to do it over traditional HDBaseT or some type of matrix switcher, then it would've been some crazy card loaded thing and I would've had to mix copper and fiber. It was enough that if we had to get into a 32x32 matrix switch, and at that price point, I was like, "This is silly, let's just go AV over IP, then we have no limitations or concerns with our inputs and outputs. We also have no risk of them adding a thirty-third input, then throwing out that switch and having to buy a whole new one."

In this specific case that we've used it for, we replaced a video matrix switch with it. The original design from the bid was to use a big 32x32 matrix switch. We decided that since we are doing a bunch of other network stuff here as well, in terms of control and audio, why don't we do audio, video, and everything over IP, putting everything on the same switch. So, instead of having 14 different devices to manage, I have five. It worked out really well in the long run.

We use M4300-96X and M4300 48-Port PoE 1Gb switches. At the moment, we are just using this with one customer.

How has it helped my organization?

If our company was going to buy a new office and deploy a bunch of stuff, it would be one of these switches that I would purchase, especially because you're able to stack different models and types, then manage it nice and easily. I could see, as a network administrator, the ability to look at your entire network from one page and have the ability to diagnose and fix problems in one area. That would be fantastic.

What is most valuable?

We did a deployment where we were running about a 10Gb video endpoint sources, so we were utilizing a much larger amount of backplane bandwidth than we were used to using. We used the 96X as the core switch, then stacked it with the other single gigabit switches. So, knowing that the 96X had more than enough of backplane bandwidth than anything we could throw at it now or in the future, makes us confident that we were going in the right direction. Not to mention, the 96X was one of the only switches that I could find that would do 10Gb with POE over copper, which was a hard fast requirement for our job.

Honestly, getting the 10Gb to work was simple. Just follow good termination practices in terms of your fiber and your copper, then it worked flawlessly. For us to have a system where we can run a 4K video source virtually anywhere in a building without having to worry about really expensive matrix switchers, etc., this is the way AV is going in the next little while. In this project, we knew that we were ahead of the curve, and there was no chance of running into bandwidth limitations, or anything like that.

It wasn't a feature that I knew I would need, but once we deployed it, it came in very handy. You can stack different models of switches. The fact that we can stack the 96X, which is the modeler switch for 10Gb cards or 40Gb. We can stack that with the 1Gb PoE 48 port switch. The ability to mix and match is invaluable. So, we didn't have to run massive super extensive switches in the data closets where it wasn't necessary. Being able to manage it all from one place, as all your network configuration settings went live across your entire building from one management console was really handy.

What needs improvement?

Since this is my first time working with this specific switch interface, the interface was pretty intuitive. The only area I found a little bit confusing was how they separated IGMP. So IGMP integration could be found both in the switching area of the switch, but also in the routing area of the switch. Therefore, it wasn't super clear which of those did which. As a beginner with the switch. it was a bit confusing at first to know, for example, "Where do I need to set this up? If I'm doing this, why does this work, and why doesn't this work?" Otherwise, the interface of the switch is pretty simple. I just found the IGMP a bit convoluted.

I was able to reach out to another guy who had used this particular switch in the past. He sort of explained some of the nomenclature that NETGEAR uses to explain things. It's just different from some of the other (especially lower-end) switches that I've worked with. It is just finding out how people explain their particular way to doing things.

The IGMP specifics of the web management console could use a bit of clarification. This is sort of a specific thing. Every switch manufacturer has their own idiosyncrasies, like managing Dell switches for QoS, I find to be really weird. However, QoS on the NETGEAR was brilliantly easy and super self-explanatory.

I would like an email notification in case of errors or failures. If it was possible for the switch to email out an error log or notification note, especially in cases where we have the switches offsite (on the other side of town), then if something was to go wrong, it would be great to know about it before our client goes to use it for a big event, and it doesn't work. While I know that it does do SNMP, which is sort of standard, in the AV world, that is not always an option for us. We are usually running our own little network box and don't always have access to an SNMP server. We may just have simple Internet access or something similar. This is a very common feature on other managed equipment, like control systems, projectors, and certain power management devices. These have that email notification built into them.

A use case that I can think of is say somebody accidentally cuts an uplink wire between two switches. It would be fantastic if your core switch or one of the other switches could notice that disconnect and fire on an email to the manager, or the client, saying, "Hey, we've detected this problem. It happened at this time and date." Instead of having to run around the building trying to find out why things aren't working, you could have that information from a service standpoint ahead of schedule.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are an AV integration company, so we used them for one of our larger jobs we did last year. I had four to five months of good solid interaction with the equipment. Now, it is there onsite when we just go there to do servicing tests.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, in the year that they have been deployed, the switches have been pretty maintenance free. It does depend on your location. If it is in a dusty location, you will want to get in there and give it a cleaning every once in a while. However, the firmware updates and monitoring are nice and easy. 

The only issue that I have ever had was after a power outage. When the system came back up, the IGMP querier didn't elect properly. Then, I had to dive into the web console and disable it, then enable it for the querier to come back up again. That was the only hiccup that I found, where I could see the settings were correct in the switch, but for reasons that I couldn't quite figure out, it didn't actually elect a querier. So, this caused some broadcast storm issues on the switch. Once, I re-enabled it, it worked fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You are not limited in terms of stacking ports, and especially, if you're using the 96X as a core switch, the scalability, I could see this being very large. If you're using a type of a hybrid topology with a core switch going out to multiple switch stacks, or something like that, I could see the scalability of this being very good, especially considering the type of backplane switching capacity on the 96X.

Our customer uses it virtually everyday. As for expansion plans, it is used in an educational facility. Therefore, plans for expansion are always there, but they only happen when there is funding available. They are planning on adding additional display locations into other areas of the building and the ability to live stream from any of their sources out to YouTube and other sources. There is definitely talk of expansion and potential upgrades to the 4K sources and displays in the future.

We are using 15 percent of the switch's capacity right now. We are in no rush of maxing out the equipment.

How are customer service and technical support?

My first experience with NETGEAR tech support wasn't fantastic. When I was having issues trying to get the IGMP sorted out, I called tech support. They wanted me to pay to talk to the tech support, and I had literally bought the switch two months ago. I expressed my frustration to that. I was like, "There is no warranty and no actual support for the product that you just sold me?" That is when I involved a a guy who was much smarter than me out in Toronto, and had worked with these types of issues before. 

Eventually, when I posted on the forums, however, I had great support. When I posted on their NETGEAR forums, I received some emails and phone calls from NETGEAR tech support. They had me to do some packet captures and send information. From what I know, they actually based one of their firmware updates on some of the issues that we were having.

My first instinct when I have tech support issues is to try to get somebody actually on the phone, and getting through to the right person on NETGEAR's general number was a bit challenging. However, when I reached out through their web forum, it was pretty good. Not only did I get some great advice and support from fellow NETGEAR users, but I also had engineers directly following up with me. Then, the same person that emailed me was also the person that called me, so I had a single point of contact from then on, which was nice. I wasn't caught in a customer service black hole.

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

The performance, expandability, and price point comparison, along with the redesigned part of the spec, made a convincing case to switch to the 96X. There was also AP over IP, in terms of how it manages audio and tracking from video. When we were able to show the cost and performance benefits to the client, they were onboard.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. I don't have a lot of networking background, and I was able to get it up and running through either the intuitiveness of the web console or online documentation, which was pretty reassuring.

I spent probably about three days getting the network stuff configured, then another day doing deployment and commissioning. Setting up the switches was pretty easy, but making sure that the switches worked with the 47 different devices that I had a connected to it, that is where most of the time took.

When the SDVoE installations are configured correctly, the performance is amazing. Depending on the specific video equipment that you are using, the switching is either literally instantaneous or fairly fast and glitch-free. If somebody were to tell me this was video over IP, I wouldn't be able to notice. There is no artifacting, no compression, nor latecy. For mission-critical, high-end video, SDVoE is the way to go.

If it were just an SDVoE situation, I could literally plug it right out-of-the-box and go. In our particular installation, we were also using Q-SYS audio over IP, Dante, and some other control systems on the same network. Therefore, there is a bit of configuration to get all of those different protocols to play well on the switch in terms of managing QoS, managing different versions of IGMP, and making sure the filtering wasn't causing packets to get lost. However, once it was configured, it was nice and stable. It's been running for months without any issues and no downtime at all.

What about the implementation team?

I had a consultant out in Toronto who helped me out with some of the more detailed IGMP configuration issues, but it's was mostly just me.

This switch isn't for the DIYer. A DIYer should get one of those easy cloud managed ones, like an Ubiquiti, etc. Because if you need this switch, you're probably doing a type of deployment where you need to have some network jobs. You don't need to be the guy who does everything through a terminal or certified network specialist in order to set up the basic settings, but some experience using managed switches is definitely an asset.

We had our goal: a multiroom rather large deployment. We shop tested everything before we deployed it onsite. We had all of the switches set up and linked with fiber and connected to as many of the devices that we could. We ran it through a mock setup and sort of torture tested it to see if it would survive power cycling, brownout, or devices connecting and disconnecting.

We wanted to do this because the site was rather large and having to do this type of servicing and testing when everything was deployed would have been really problematic. We found and addressed a few small idiosyncrasies that would have been very challenging onsite, because some equipment was stored up in ceilings or in areas which were hard to access.

What was our ROI?

The real return on investment is the ability of future scalability. Knowing if their building grows or as their AV and IP needs in the building grow that we can easily accommodate it. What is bad about the old way of doing AV is that when you max out your equipment, the only way to add more is to usually throw out that piece of equipment that you previously bought, and buy a new, bigger piece of equipment, then go from there. This has much higher equipment costs. There are the reconfiguration costs and the installation cost. If you're a dealer, it's always great to make a lot of money, but the way that we like doing business is to try to find the smartest, best, long-term solution for our clients.

For example, if they want another projector, then we will throw another projector in. This one is SDVoE compatible. Great, then we will just plug that projector right into our AV network, and we're done. There are no extra cards to buy. There is no matrix switch to switch out for something bigger. There are no worries about whether this device has to be Crestron, because we have a Crestron switch, then we have to have to buy a Crestron from now until eternity. The fact that SDVoE is an open standard will definitely make things much better in the future.

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

It was an initial, single purchase for us. For the three switches, because I had the 96X and the two 48 port single gigabyte ones, then all the cards, etc. The total price on it, which may be a little on the low side, for the client was around $16,000 or $17,000. 

In terms of the NETGEAR stuff, there weren't any surprises. The costs were definitely fair, especially considering what we were replacing. For the equivalent performance from a non-AV over IP solution, it would have been easily been in the $40,000 range. Comparing it to standard AV video switching, the price was very good, especially considering now they can add-on without any massive additional costs.

When I started looking around at other competing options, the price to performance for the NETGEAR M4300 was above everything else. For what we needed, especially with the 96X where we can add in additional cards later, this saved our clients easily thousands of dollars on this install. We only needed eight or twelve quarts of copper, but they do eventually want to add some more in the future. So, instead of having to buy a 10Gb switch with copper and PoE with 48 ports, which would've been an amazingly expensive devise, I could buy the 96X and put in the two cards and load the fiber that I needed. I could do fiber and copper in the same switch, which is just brilliant.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Depending on the size and scope of the project, we might use a different switch. For our smaller, simpler projects, we are typically using Luxul because they are very inexpensive and a decent performing switch. They also have some certain form factor things that we like to have, such as all their ports are on the back. With some of our clients, I would rather not have to touch their network, so not having anything to physically plug into on the front of their equipment practices is a big deal. Then, for some other QSC specific stuff, they have some preconfigured switches from Dell that we've used just from a warranty and service standpoint. E.g., if the manufacturer provides and preconfigures the switch, they'll warranty any switch issues, which is, for us as a company who provides service, a big deal.

For this project, I looked into a few other options, like Cisco. However, all the information that I could find on them, like their pricing, for what I needed was not competitive. Because this was an SDVoE project, I felt much more comfortable going with NETGEAR. knowing they are one of the founding partners of the SDVoE Alliance.

What other advice do I have?

The advice I would give: Work with somebody, if possible to think about your backbone needs. Think about the network deployment and the design, because the last thing that you want to do is a four switch stack and run out of trunk capacity, switching capacity, or PV capacity. Even though the 96X is a more expensive piece of hardware than the other parts of the M4300, do not discount it as a great solution for a master or core switch.

There is one other guy in our organization who helps in terms of service and support, but for anything network-oriented, it's me.

I would rate the M4300 as a nine (out of ten). I was a non-expert, who felt fairly comfortable configuring and managing the switch. This is a big part of my rating. Also, the ease of doing things, like switch stacking and setting up trunks, which can be sort of confusing and scary, was great.

The available types of of hardware options for the 96X are amazing. In the same physical switch, you can put a 40Gb card, 10Gb copper, 10Gb fiber, and 1Gb copper or fiber, and you are able to hot swap it. It's just killer. There are not a lot of solutions which do this, and not anywhere close to the price point that NETGEAR does.

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: System integrator.
Jaret Carlson
Owner at Alpha Tech
Reseller
Cloud management allows us to see all our NETGEAR switches, and manage VLANs, ports, and even reboot them via the web

Pros and Cons

  • "The cloud management has just been huge for us. We have 80 clients and they all have switches... With the cloud-managed Insight ones... we know more information without having to do complicated SNMP traps. We get nice emails, we get a web interface, and we're not having to wait for our RMM tools to get SNMP traffic to notify us. We don't have to do complicated configurations."
  • "With this, you literally just log in to a website, see all your clients, all your NETGEAR switches, and you can manage them all right there: the VLANs, powering on and off individual ports, rebooting the whole device, the firmware updates. Everything can be done remotely..."
  • "I'd like to see a little bit of slowdown on the firmware updates. They've been doing a lot of them. I don't know if that's just because it's such a new product line, but the firmware updates have been a little annoying because they've been coming once a week. For a switch, that's a little extreme."
  • "It's worked for the most part, but we've had to power cycle a few devices. We've had to ask customers to manually power cycle them with the power cord, after some of the firmware updates. Their updating needs a little improvement."

What is our primary use case?

I'm using them for network switching for SMB. The Insight line is the SMB line, that's what they're trying to break into with this line. I've used them at a country club and at a restaurant, both of which have VLANs. We're using them at our office. I've got them in about eight different locations now, in different environments.

How has it helped my organization?

It has saved a lot of time. I haven't tried exporting out the configuration and then importing it into another one, so traditional switches might give you a little bit more that way because you can export out the configs (You can now export out configurations). The web management through one pane of glass for all of my NETGEAR switches has made it a lot easier. It makes it easy to compare settings from other sites when you're trying to duplicate what you've done in the past. You can look at it real quick - without having to remote all the way into a machine, and then try and get into the switch, and remember the IP address of the switch and the credentials of the switch. It's all right there for you. I have a single login for all of my switches.

The cloud management has been huge for us. We have 80 clients and they all have switches. We've been migrating them over as much as we can, when it's called for, to the cloud-managed Insight ones. On those sites, we know more information without having to do complicated SNMP traps. We get nice emails, we get a web interface, and we're not having to wait for our RMM tools to get SNMP traffic to notify us. We don't have to do complicated configurations. It's all just part of the simple setup, of joining the switch to an account.

What is most valuable?

The remote management has been awesome. With the old-school style of switches, you actually had to be on the LAN, plug into it - you could get in remotely but you had to go through a computer and have other trickery to get in. With this, you literally just log in to a website, see all your clients, all your NETGEAR switches, and you can manage them all right there: the VLANs, powering on and off individual ports, rebooting the whole device, the firmware updates. Everything can be done remotely, so it's pretty awesome for an IT company. It saves time which means more profitability.

It's super-easy to use and deploy, probably one of the easiest managed switches I've ever used. I can have it pre-programmed and configured right through the web interface before I even plug it into the customer's site. By linking it to the account and doing the configuration, when I plug it in and turn it on at the client's site it gets the configuration automatically. The web portal is really awesome.

I've had to troubleshoot one out of eight, so that's a pretty good ratio. It's a brand new product, so we haven't really sold tons of them yet. The troubleshooting has been pretty easy because we do it remotely and we can reboot the whole device remotely. The only time it has become a problem is when there were multiple failures. We did have one case where the internet had gone out and it was just that the router needed to get rebooted, but we couldn't do anything to the switch because their internet was down. I had to go out there.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see a little bit of slowdown on the firmware updates. They've been doing a lot of them. I don't know if that's just because it's such a new product line, but the firmware updates have been a little annoying because they've been coming once a week. For a switch, that's a little extreme.

It's worked for the most part, but we've had to power cycle a few devices. We've had to ask customers to manually power cycle them with the power cord, after some of the firmware updates. Their updating needs a little improvement. But if we're talking about a scale of one to ten, as far as hassles go, where ten is a huge hassle, it's been a two.

It would be nice if it came in a couple different colors. Right now, they're just white. Some customers want the whole black setup, they want everything to look black and to be black and these only are offered in white. I had one customer not want it because it was white.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the very beginning, we had that one problem with the firmware update where it took them all offline. That was a pain, but that's only been one instance. And it was a major update because they were updating the back-side - the web side - and the hardware side at the same time, and it didn't go so smoothly. We had to have people power cycle them. Other than that, they've been very stable. We're using one in our office and we haven't had any technical malfunctions due to bad manufacturing. We've had no hardware failures.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is there. They have all the different sized switches. There are definitely options, everything from an 8-port up to even a 28-port with the fiber links. We're doing is SMB, so we're not doing enterprise-level. They added the 52-port switch too. Scalability is going to be great. Hopefully I will get a client that needs a 52-port switch, but for the most part, we're doing the 8s and the 16s, so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Overall, tech support has been good and bad. The first deployment I did, I needed some help but their tech support didn't even know about the products because they were so new. That was months ago. I needed help because I didn't quite understand the licensing and I wanted to talk to somebody. They were a little mystified too. I got past that.

When I did an install about a month ago, I needed some help with the VLAN stuff. It ended up being my fault because of the way I was tagging things, the way I had set it up. NETGEAR support walked me right through, noticing the problem and helping me get it fixed. The person I got on the phone blew me out of the water. He just knew everything. He said, "Oh yeah, no problem. Do this. Do that." He walked me right through it. And he spoke English, which was good.

I'm a little different than a normal end user because I have a partner relationship. On that one I was getting frustrated and I called my partner rep directly and he put me right into tech support. I don't think I went through the normal channel on that one.

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

We were using NETGEAR switches and SonicWall routers and access points before, but the price point on those was getting so crazy compared to like what Ubiquity was offering. We started using Ubiquity because they were so cheap. We could do three networks for the same price as one SonicWall, or the NETGEAR enterprise-level stuff, or any of the old enterprise-level stuff, including Cisco. So we went to Ubiquity, did a couple of big networks with it and it was great. But I wasn't super-happy with their web interface. It was getting a little clunky and there were a lot of features missing or labeled as being in BETA when they should've been released already and I didn't like that.

We were using both Ubiquity and the traditional NETGEAR managed switches. We made the switch to Insight mainly because of the WiFi. We liked the cloud-based controller for the WiFi. That's why we did Ubiquity. We've probably got a few hundred Ubiquity access points out there.

My NETGEAR partner rep called me and let me know about the new Insight stuff. He said, "We're coming out with these to directly compete with Ubiquity and Aruba and the like, and would you give it a try?" I said, "Yeah, I've always like NETGEAR," and we started with the access points. We put in about ten for the first install that we did. It went really smoothly and I liked it. I used the NETGEAR switch at the same time, the 16-port Insight switch. It all went really super-smoothly, even though it was my first time working with this newer style of technology. 

I did a few WiFi deployments with them and I really liked the manageability. I've loved it ever since. Now we're trying to migrate over to it exclusively.

It's the same reasons as the switches, I can get into everything, anywhere, any time, even from my cell phone. If a client calls me up and says "Hey, my WiFi's being weird," instead of having to ask him to go find the cords to unplug it, I can literally reboot it from my cell phone. Same with the switches. That's been a time saver for us, as an IT company and a pain-point saver for our end users because we don't have to ask them to do anything. They love that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's literally: Plug it into a network that's on the internet, go to your NETGEAR account, add the serial number, and it activates the device. If you just want to use it as a regular switch, you don't have to do all that. You could just plug it in and use it. If you want use it as a smart switch with the web functions, the cloud-based functions, you have to license it and activate it, but it's a very straightforward process. You buy a token and when you add the device to your account it says, "Hey, you have an available token. Apply it to this device?" "Yes." As soon as the device goes on the internet, it's licensed to your account. It's that easy.

It's a network switch so if you're not doing anything fancy with it, deployment takes five to ten minutes. If you have the token pre-purchased, it's even faster than that. You literally just plug it in. That's any switch though, unless if you're doing some programming like VLANing. Then it takes a little bit longer. It depends on the environment. There's no operating system, there's nothing to really configure, depending on the environment. Most SMB clients have very simple environments. WiFi is starting to add to that where people, even in the SMB market, want more VLANs for guest WiFis and other WiFi's. Out of the eight I've done with the Insights switches, I had to do VLANs for four of them, and it was really easy.

The most complicated setup was one where I did a 16-port version and I had to do three different VLANs, so that was a pain. It wasn't even that hard. The switch side was very easy; it was the programming of all the access points.

For that one I had to plan a little bit. I had to lay out which WiFi I wanted on which VLAN. When everything is on the switch though, it's very straightforward: Log in to a website, click on that switch, go to the VLAN section and tag it with one of the two or three types of VLAN tagging. I had to figure out which VLAN I wanted on which jacks on the switch, etc. I did it really simply. The first half of the switch was one VLAN and the second half of the switch I split into two more sections. So half of it was one VLAN and the other E-ports I split up into four-port chunks to do a VLAN for each one. I then plugged all my WiFi access points in and my hard-wired computers. So there was some planning. It was more like network development planning than strategizing and worrying about the switch.

If you're trying to do a very simple setup and you're not doing anything too crazy with a bunch of VLANs, and you're just trying to set up your small business with a small A-port and you're plugging in a couple computers and a printer, but you want your switch to be on the internet so you know if something goes wrong - for all of that you don't have to be an expert. It is that easy. I normally type in the serial number, but the app on your phone will take a picture of the QR code on the device to add it to the account. It's that easy. It's making me feel like I might not have a job in ten years. With the old ones you had to have a special cable to plug into the switch to get into the console to manage it. No one could do that. Even as an IT person, I hated doing that. It's a night-and-day difference.

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

For the price, they're good. If you look at Ubiquity switches (which have cloud features too) or even the regular NETGEAR GS switches, these are still price-competitive and come with the cloud features, which is just amazing.

I sold someone a SonicWall and they had to redo their subscription every year. It was a $300 or $400 subscription they had to pay every year and I got a small piece of that. With NETGEAR I am getting less from the subscription, because now it's only a $10 or $20 subscription per device for the whole year, instead of $300. But it's easier to sell the product because my clients aren't complaining that they're paying for super-expensive support and licensing for a year. To pay $200 per SonicWall access point, that's kind of crazy; or Cisco Meraki where you're paying $300 for the year. Now, you can pay $10 or $20 and you have your license and all your support.

The cost of the hardware and additional services is really low. It's competing with Ubiquity. We're probably getting a little more margin because the price is so low, so we can squeak in a little bit more margin for ourselves. The important thing, though, is that we're able to supply a better solution to the client. Now, instead of the client spending $800 to get one WiFi access point, we can do three access points for $800 and they're just as strong, signal-wise, as the $800 ones. That means we have a better-deployed mesh network. Instead of just one access point placed as best we could, we have a stronger mesh. We can design a better network because it's more affordable for small businesses, and that includes the Ethernet switches and the access points.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

NETGEARs have been my go-to switches ever since 3Com went away. I've tried other ones too, like TP-Link, a bunch of Intel switches. I tried the HPE switches for a little bit. But NETGEAR has always been easy to use, straightforward, good, and works.

What other advice do I have?

From an IT vendor's perspective, make sure to get the right licensing. Make sure to get the licensing that allows you to do the tenants and have it all separated. Definitely make sure to get the higher-end licensing, the Pro version and not the Basic or Premium.

For end users, my only advice would be to keep it simple. Don't get too crazy with it. It's hard to not keep it simple with these devices. They are made for small business and they are made to be simple. Don't over-complicate things. Just get what you need. They're pretty easy. A switch is a switch and an end user typically is not doing anything too complicated, other than linking a bunch of devices together. It's pretty much just plug it in, for them.

Our organization is an IT company, and there's only two of us using it inside the building. He's a network technician and I'm a network engineer. And as a technician, he hasn't had any issues using them either. He hasn't even really needed to call me for help, as an engineer. He hasn't needed my expertise. It's been easy for him and he's new to managed switches too. It's been good. I've been able to let him do stuff in them without having to oversee him, because it's been easy for him.

Deployment and maintenance need something like one person for every 100. They're really easy and you can manage them all from one place, in one website. You don't need a lot of people watching over them. It's really easy for one person to watch over hundreds of them.

We're actually going to start using it as our Hardware as a Service and start trying to market it that way and push out these devices where we own them and allow clients to use them as a service. We're going to use the NETGEAR stuff for that.

They just redid their management on the backside. Before it was either Premium or Basic but now they have the Pro version which allows me to group all my clients together. I can group locations by client and I can give clients direct access to their own stuff too. So I can have admin-level access to all my clients and then give the individual clients direct access to their own stuff, so we're not holding anybody hostage either. It's been pretty cool for that. We've just been really happy with it. We're moving to them as our main networking and WiFi products.

I was just at the NETGEAR SMB Council. The Insight product has been out for about a year, and some of the people who got on it when it first came out had a lot of complaints about how it was dumb when it first came out and about the issues they had. They did say it got a lot better for them. I got on the products a little bit later, I didn't get into to it until three or four months ago. For me it's been pretty smooth, other than that one update where we had to reboot stuff. So depending on when someone started using the stuff they might have different opinions. The early adopters might not have liked it as much because of the issues they had in the beginning, issues that NETGEAR fixed, going forward. I noticed that some of the partners there who had been using it longer did have a bad taste in their mouths. That was because they onboarded so early that it didn't really have a chance yet.

Overall, I would rate the solution a nine out of ten. I will give some stuff a ten, but it's pretty rare. The updating process has been easy, it works over the web, but it's been a little too often, and that's causing email triggers. We get annoyed by the constant bombardment of emails from their devices - and the more devices you have, the more you get bombarded. Any time there's a firmware update, they have to reboot and there's an email notification, so you start to get a lot of emails. The notifications need to be a little cleaner. But from a functional standpoint it's been pretty solid, if we're just talking about just the switches.

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.
Learn what your peers think about NETGEAR Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,721 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Keith Hanna
Independent Consultant at a tech company with 1-10 employees
Consultant
I can see traffic on each switch port remotely and see problems down to an individual port

Pros and Cons

  • "The remote management tools are fantastic. The combination of the webpage as well as the app makes life so much easier. I don't need to go and visit sites to do upgrades or any sorts of changes. The firmware can all be deployed remotely. I can see the traffic on each of the switch ports remotely as well, so I can see if we've got problems, down to an individual port. It's very granular."
  • "My one issue with it is that not all the features of the switch can currently be managed via the portal. For some of the more advanced features, you still have to configure the switch."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is generally small office, and multiple users with the same customer.

How has it helped my organization?

For us, the Insight platform is a consistent experience from one office to the next. A user can connect to one access point in one office and then automatically connect to another access point in the office, without having to do any WiFi connections or passwords. So the user experience is seamless.

And that also saves time. It's only a few minutes per user for each office we go to, but it soon adds up and reduces frustration.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the Insight application itself, with its ease of management. 

Also, the remote management tools are fantastic. The combination of the webpage as well as the app makes life so much easier. I don't need to go and visit sites to do upgrades or any sorts of changes. The firmware can all be deployed remotely. I can see the traffic on each of the switch ports remotely as well, so I can see if we've got problems, down to an individual port. It's very granular.

It's easy to use and deploy. It's just a simple case of assigning a switch to one of the already-configured network offices. Then, as soon as the device pairs up, it downloads the configuration and it's good to go. It's very simple.

The management tools are very straightforward. They're well laid out in terms of the concepts, and configuration and adding new devices are very easy. It's very straightforward.

What needs improvement?

My one issue with it is that not all the features of the switch can currently be managed via the portal. For some of the more advanced features, you still have to configure the switch. We tend not to use those features, so it's not a problem.

It's coming along. Quite regularly, the platform is being updated so those features are definitely coming. Every month or two, when I log in, there are new features available online. So we can start to implement the features that, historically, we'd have to go to site to implement. They're not features that are critical to our use.

It's the wireless access-point aspect and some of the routing capabilities on the wireless access point that I'm referring to. For example, the peer-to-peer bridging isn't available. You have to configure the access points directly for that.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. We've only had one problem and that turned out not to be the switch. It was another device. But it highlighted where the problem was, so it was very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They do come in different sizes: small, medium, and large. From our perspective, the scalability is great. It suits all our needs. At most, I think we have three of the 24-port switches in one location. The scalability is very good.

That would be for 25 people, maximum. Everybody has two devices so there would be 50 or 60 on it, in total, once we add in tablets and phones.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never needed to contact tech support. The switches come with a quite extensive warranty of three or five years, and 90 days worth of free initial support. But it is that straightforward to set up and configure that we've never needed to contact them.

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

We used existing, legacy NETGEAR devices in the past. We were just keeping up to date and seeing the changes in the products they were bringing, and that's how we came across Insight.

How was the initial setup?

At the office, on the Insight platform, the individual switch setup is very straightforward. You just scan the barcode and you plug it in. That said, setting up in an office is very straightforward as well because it's all web or app-driven.

For an individual device, it probably takes longer to put it in the rack and screw it in. To actually install it, have it configured and running, it's less than 30 minutes.

In terms of an implementation strategy, each office is different sized and has different capabilities and different requirements. So there isn't a generic strategy in that sense. But configuration is all centrally managed. The individual switches are sized based on the office. A smaller office might have two or three of the smaller Ethernet switches, just for redundancy. A very small office might just have a single switch. But all that configuration is done centrally so the actual implementation strategy is just: Turn up on site and plug it in.

You don't need to be an IT expert to deploy and support a network. It is that straightforward. It requires no staff for deployment. Because it's all centrally configured, you don't need to have any staff to deploy it. You just need to be able to plug in the cable.

What was our ROI?

The fact they continue to work and can be managed remotely is all about cost savings. We don't incur travel costs to update switches. None of the switches have been faulty.

We've carried out four or five firmware updates this year, remotely. That has probably reduced travel by 300 or 400 miles. That saves travel costs and travel time.

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

They're good value. They're good entry-level switches. I know Cisco generally has a lot more capability. But, for an organization this size, we don't need that. So they're good value for the cost and what we need.

The cost of the hardware and additional services is low compared to others. Anything that's cheaper, for the same output, is a good thing for our business.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it They're very straightforward to purchase and setup time is very minimal, especially if you've got a lot of small, remote offices, because you get the central management. The big feature for us that centralized management and the remote capabilities.

The apps for the phones are good. I have an Android phone, and it's also available on iOS. You can remotely manage and monitor even without having to sit at a desk. That is very useful.

The Insight platform itself - for VPN, firewalls, and storage devices - is a good, centralized platform for managing all of that. Although we've only really talked about the switching, it has other features as well, which make it sensible for us as a centralized management platform. It's appropriate for medium to large businesses. 

I haven't really had to use the remote troubleshooting much. The one time I did, it was very detailed regarding the point where the problem was and we could identify the problem. It ended up being on a non-switch device so we had to have an engineer go to the site to fix it. But it was very quick to identify exactly where that problem was, down to an individual port and the device connected into that port. I have been troubleshooting the network as opposed to the devices and, in my experience, it's very good.

In terms of maintenance, it's all done remotely so we've needed only one staff member, with very little overhead. At one of the offices, for example, they turn everything off at night. We get an alert saying the network is down, but when they turn it back on in the morning, we get an alert saying the network is back up. There's very little management on top of that.

The businesses where we deploy them have plants and office locations. As they sign up and grow, we'll definitely deploy more.

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.
GC
System Administrator at Brigham Young University
Real User
The price has been reliable, but the tool needs a fully featured CLI in their enterprise-class switches

What is our primary use case?

We have used their SOHO switches and some of their enterprise-class switches in our educational environment. Mainly just to get more ports in an office or other room.

How has it helped my organization?

They are reasonably priced and have worked pretty well for us.

What is most valuable?

The price, and for the most part it has been reliable.  Their enterprise-class switches have a way to go with their CLI as compared to for instance Cisco, etc. This is I think due to a lack of maturity in this market.

What needs improvement?

They need to implement a fully-featured CLI in their enterprise-class switches if they want to compete in that space and market.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

  • We have used their SOHO switches and some of their enterprise-class switches in our educational environment.
  • Mainly just to get more ports in an office or other room.

How has it helped my organization?

They are reasonably priced and have worked pretty well for us.

What is most valuable?

  • The price, and for the most part it has been reliable. 
  • Their enterprise-class switches have a way to go with their CLI as compared to for instance Cisco, etc. This is I think due to a lack of maturity in this market.

What needs improvement?

They need to implement a fully-featured CLI in their enterprise-class switches if they want to compete in that space and market.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JM
President at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Reseller
A design flaw, with lights on the opposite side of the jacks, makes rack mounting very difficult

Pros and Cons

  • "It's nice, if there is an issue, to be able to go in through the remote. The fact that the remote doesn't require a static IP... is nice. They initiate the contact to the outside world, without requiring a static to get in."
  • "There are some design issues on which they really missed the boat. The problem has to do with rack mounting them because the lights and jacks should all be on the front, and the power on the back. The way they did it makes it really difficult to use them in a rack environment, because when the lights are on the opposite side of the jacks... you usually can't see the back side of a rack. You can't get back there to see, so it's just crazy."

What is our primary use case?

I'm using the switches in small business environments and I'm using them with the cloud management. That way, I can get notifications when there are problems without even being on site, and I can also manage them remotely.

How has it helped my organization?

The improvement is that, if there's an issue, I don't have to go onsite to look into it. It saves time, which translates to money. If I'm on the road for any significant time, my clients are going to get trip charges. My being able to remotely manage it means they can save those costs, and it could be back up more quickly because it might be something minor that I can remotely resolve.

What is most valuable?

The cloud management is the reason I switched to them, although the regular NETGEAR product line that I've used would be less expensive. I love the cloud management feature.`

They are easy to use and deploy. The deployment can be done through the direct interface of the device or through the cloud management if that mode is selected. But it's nice, if there is an issue, to be able to go in through the remote. The fact that the remote doesn't require a static IP - even though most small businesses do have static IPs, you do run into some that don't - is nice. They initiate the contact to the outside world, without requiring a static to get in.

The switch has been really easy. Anybody who has been in the business can hop on there and change stuff right away.

What needs improvement?

I've used and sold NETGEAR stuff for a long time and I was really excited about the cloud product. But, there are some design issues on which they really missed the boat. The problem has to do with rack mounting them because the lights and jacks should all be on the front, and the power on the back. The way they did it makes it really difficult to use them in a rack environment, because when the lights are on the opposite side of the jacks. They just don't lend themselves to a rack environment.

I'm absolutely amazed that they did what they did because they've been building switches for years and this totally violates all of the design parameters on all their other products. You can't have a device that's expected to go into a rack environment - and they ship with the rack mount - yet the jacks are on one side, and all the indicator lights you need to look at are on the back. You usually can't see the back side of a rack. You can't get back there to see, so it's just crazy. It's like they designed it to hang on a wall, rather than to be mounted in a rack. They're really missing their bigger opportunity by doing that. It's so bad that I have to consider whether or not to use them. What good are indicators if you can't look at them? And you can't do so in the current design because they're on the back side.

If you look at their entire product line, nothing is like that. It just makes no sense at all. If they would put the power on the back and the indicators on the front, it would be like every other switch they manufacture, and it would resolve all those issues. 

I want to use it. I just hope that they fix their design.

Another issue, when it comes to NETGEAR's competitors, is that other companies are offering the cloud management at no extra charge, whereas NETGEAR charges for it. You have to pay per-device for licenses.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had any issues with the stability. I just learned about the cloud model a few months ago and the first ones I rolled out were shortly after that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In the size of environments I've worked with, it's been working great. For example, I had one where, in some parts of the building they've got some of the 8-ports, and in other locations, they've got the 24-ports and 48-ports. The product line is there. I've interconnected them using the 10-gig cross-connects for the 24s and 48s. It's the 24- and 48-port models that have a 10-gig SPF connection option. That's really nice because you get high performance between devices.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't needed to contact technical support.

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

I was using NETGEAR's switches prior. The Insight is the newer product line. Their sales department contacted me when I first expressed interest in the product and they had one of their sales engineers do a webinar with me, showing me the product and the management.

I ended up going with NETGEAR because I've used their switches for a number of years. I've been around forever. 3Com was the original big company doing all of the switch technology. They didn't even have switches when I started. It was all hub technology back then. 3Com, obviously, was bought out by HP, so I used the HP line. I was introduced to the NETGEAR product line through another company that I partner with on jobs. They do the phone side, I do the data side. Because of IT voice technology, they had been using the NETGEARs. They introduced me to them and I liked them. They were a better price point. They were reliable. So I switched to NETGEAR. When I saw the advertisements for the Insight and the cloud management, it drew me into checking them out.

The concept of cloud management is great. If you could get one vendor that can cover all of the products, so you don't have multiple management windows, it would be nice. That's what I'm trying to do with NETGEAR, if they can just make some more improvements to the product.

How was the initial setup?

I find the initial setup pretty straightforward. But again, I've worked on many pieces of equipment for 30 years, so it's easy for me.

You could deploy a switch instantly. You're not required to set any settings. You could just plug it in and use it. Somebody who doesn't know anything could use it. But if you want to take advantage of the management features, then it'll take a little bit longer. You'll have to set it up in either stand alone or Cloud managed mode and then configure it. But doesn't take long if you know what you're doing. It can be set up within ten minutes.

Most people in the business already know what their network structure is, so they know their IP subnets, etc. It's your option to throw your address on it or let DHCP assign it and then set up a couple things and you're done.

In terms of an implementation strategy, for my managed equipment I will always put a statically assigned address on it within the internal subnets of the company. That way, I'm not dependent upon DHCP being up and running at the time those devices reboot. On a typical network, all of the statics are documented, so I can pull up documentation to manage stuff. Of course, with the cloud management it gives you the ability to name the devices, so you can make descriptive names.

It takes one person to deploy and maintain it. I'm in an environment where I'm working with companies that don't have an IT staff. They're smaller than the size that can accommodate a full-time staff person. So, I'm the one supporting them.

What was our ROI?

Determining ROI gets tough when you get into some of these more expensive devices. Part of the problem is that it's a newer product line, so they don't have as many options as they will probably have in a couple years. Because there are fewer, there is a tendency to have more full-featured things that cost more, when you may not need all of the features.

The savings from the customer's perspective are when I can work on it remotely, without having to travel to their site. They're saving the trip charges and they can, potentially, be up quicker. That's going to save the customer money. The initial costs are more, but they can reap the benefits in the long term.

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

NETGEAR is not competitive when it comes to cloud management because Ubiquity is free. Peplink is free but you have to keep the device under warranty. After its initial warranty is up, you have to buy the extended warranty to keep it under cloud management. In that situation, the $10 a year on a router would be cheaper than keeping the device under warranty. But when you get into the access points in Ubiquity, they've got NETGEAR beat because it's free for that service. It's part of buying the product.

NETGEAR's new product is definitely more expensive than their standard product line. It's a new product line for them, so I'm hoping with the maturity of the product that those costs will come down. The standard product line is considerably cheaper. I'm not quite sure why, because there's not that much on the tech side. It really doesn't cost any more to build a managed device than it does to build a non-managed. That's usually all just in software implementations. Cloud-managed is going to be the mainstay. Everybody's going to go there. It's a matter of time until that's just the standard and everybody will expect everything to work in that environment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Ubiquity is the one that's doing the free cloud management. I had been using some of their access points toward the concept of trying to get into unified management rather than all these different brands. I've been trying to do that with NETGEAR, with their access points, Ethernet switches, and routers. I'm just finding limitations, or it's not competitive if I have to pay $10 a year per device to manage the NETGEAR when Ubiquity will do it for free. It's part of the benefit of you buying their product. Ten bucks a year isn't much until you start having 20 devices at a company. Then it's an extra $200 that you have to get them to pay, when it's free with the other guy's product.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of advice to someone who is looking into implementing this solution, I would have to know more about what their application was and what they were doing. It is going to cost them more and, if they're rack mounting it, there's definitely a negative on the switches; a big negative, because you can't see the lights.

Some aspects of the remote management tools are good and some need improvement. If you go to the new NETGEAR Insight router, there are features that aren't supported through the cloud management and you have to do them locally. That needs to be improved so that all of those features can be done through the cloud management. I'm using the version where they sell the license for $10 a year. It gives you access to control them. It's just the ability to go in and remote-manage whatever the feature set of the device is remotely, and get notifications when there's a problem on the network.

I've probably only put in ten of them so far. I've more used it for monitoring and initial setup. I haven't done much troubleshooting because they've been up and running. I haven't had the problem of them being down.

As for whether you need to be an IT expert to deploy and maintain the solution, it's tough for somebody like me, who has 30 years of IT experience, to make that judgment. For somebody who has never touched one, if you don't have those concepts, you wouldn't know what to do. You have to have a certain level. Somebody who has never done anything in technology isn't going to hop on there and know what to do, but it's not a problem with the switch, it's because they don't understand the technology.

In the first organization I implemented the solution in, there are about 40 devices on that network. There are four switches there.

I love the concept, I want to continue to use it. But I'm torn on this issue of whether or not they're going to correct the physical layout so that the lights are on the correct side.

In terms of how I rate it, I'm going to have to hit it, because it has the design flaw. Even though I'm using it, I'd throw it down at a three out ten, because it is really bad that the status lights can't be seen from the front. It's a major flaw. They anticipate rack mount, it comes with the rack mount kit. I can't believe it shipped; that it was designed that way. If that was resolved I'd probably throw it up around an eight. If they got rid of the fees for the management, I'd probably give them a nine or a ten. They have to look at the marketplace. They're not being competitive by charging the $10 per device for management.

I like NETGEAR as a company. I'm hoping that they will actually pay attention to the feedback and make changes to improve the product.

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.
Ryan Baskharoon
Operations Manager at DLL Technologies
Real User
Modularity means I can replace just the problem part if something breaks, rather than the whole switch

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature to me is the modular side of things, being able to replace a module and a transceiver at our beck and call. If something goes down, or a piece of equipment is broken, I don't have to replace the whole switch. I can just replace the part that's broken or the part that is no longer working. I can get them back up and working within a matter of minutes, versus having to replace everything and reprogram everything. It's a huge time-saver."
  • "As far as remoting into it goes, it is very efficient because I can do it from anywhere, through the remote software. I can get right into it, I can change settings really quickly, if a customer needs to add another device into it or if I need to make changes on the VLANs that we created."
  • "When the power does go out, or if we do a soft shutdown, some of the transceivers or the monitor don't recognize when it turns back on, so I have to physically unplug it and plug it back in and then it works. We're working with NETGEAR's engineers to figure out why that's happening."

What is our primary use case?

This particular unit controls all of the fiber optics coming in from each of our buildings for the property that we are managing.

How has it helped my organization?

At this particular facility, what they had was a Cisco router coming in, and then a gigabit switch. That switch went out to these 10 x 100 fiber optic switches, which were outdated. That bottlenecked the whole network at the network room, and then it went out to a media converter, and then to a gigabit switch, and then it went out to the clients' routers inside their homes. It was a pretty complex network.

The idea was to find the right product so I could eliminate all of those extra pieces and devices and the troubleshooting that went with them, and pare it down to only two pieces of equipment. The right equipment was the NETGEAR M4300-96X. It allowed me to be able to troubleshoot much quicker. It allowed the operations to be very seamless.

As far as remoting into it goes, it is very efficient because I can do it from anywhere, through the remote software. I can get right into it, I can change settings really quickly, if a customer needs to add another device into it or if I need to make changes on the VLANs which we created.

Another great function of this particular switch is that we have roughly 100-plus VLANs running through it and it's never had an issue. No hiccups, nothing. It just works like a well-oiled machine. It has saved us a lot of time and money and it allows our customers to be more efficient and save money too.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature to me is the modular side of things, being able to replace a module and a transceiver at our beck and call. If something goes down, or a piece of equipment is broken, I don't have to replace the whole switch. I can just replace the part that's broken or the part that is no longer working. I can get them back up and working within a matter of minutes, versus having to replace everything and reprogram everything. It's a huge time-saver.

The switch itself actually works fantastically. Getting into it works well, the console works well. The console user interface is very easy. A "question mark" is the big key to that whole console. If you don't know anything, it actually walks you through what to look for and how to look for it, when you're in different sections of the console.

Besides the modules, the software and the web interface, are actually very easy to use. They make life, programming, and everything very simple.

What needs improvement?

Right now I'm working with their technical support. When the power does go out, or if we do a soft shutdown, some of the transceivers or the monitor don't recognize when it turns back on, so I have to physically unplug it and plug it back in and then it works. We're working with NETGEAR's engineers to figure out why that's happening. 

Besides that, everything else is working great. It's on a UPS so it hardly ever goes down.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The M4300 is a workhorse. It works extremely well and it's very efficient. Besides the little problems that we still encounter when it powers off and powers back on, as long as the UPS stays working, it's never really given me any problems. I would purchase it again, absolutely.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is endless. Anywhere from putting in the gigabit ethernet ports, which we do have in the switch, to setting up full fiber optic 10 gig ports through the transceivers - depending on what fiber you're running - it is fully scalable. It can be very inexpensive or it can be very expensive depending on how much you're putting into it. But even at that point, it's going to do the job and probably better than most Ethernet switches out there.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is phenomenal. They've been great. They've always been there when I've needed them. They've called and remoted in if I needed them to look at certain issues. They've been wonderful. They've always performed at 100 percent for me. They've always been great to me and our company.

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

We took over this job and the solution that was there was probably the worst design I've ever seen. It was pretty much bottlenecked at the network and bottlenecked at each building in the complex. They were maxing out at 90 megs when there were 250 megs going through the full network.

We removed the media converter and the gigabit switch and got a full NETGEAR GS110, which has the fiber optic transceiver input. We had the ethernet ports on it too so we didn't have to use two pieces of equipment, just the one. We programmed VLANs and it works flawlessly. I've never had any issues with any of them.

How was the initial setup?

For this particular property that we're working at, the setup was pretty complex because you can't have them all talk to each other. So the initial setup was making sure that each building has a specific IP address and a VLAN so that each person and each unit can't see the computers on someone else's network in a different building. Before I even designed the network I talked to NETGEAR's tier-three or tier-four engineers about how to make this work properly, and they were very helpful in making the setup easy.

The two pieces of the puzzle were that the switch was very easy to work with, and the firewall where we had to make sure that the policies were in place. But once they were in place, setup was actually really easy. For 270 units, it took us less than a month to install it, and get it programmed, and up and working 100 percent.

In terms of implementation strategy, I designed it in my computer system first. I took the layout that we got from our monitoring software, which basically monitored all of the different pieces of equipment there were on the network, and it looked like a big spaghetti bowl of networks going east and west. That is not what a network is supposed to look like.

My design was to make it look like a Christmas tree, with one point where the internet is coming in, and then it reaches the firewall, and from that it goes to the switch. From the switch it goes out to all of the different little switches, and then from the little switches, it reaches the customers' routers.

It's like a "family tree" type of design where you have the main point and then it just starts trickling down, versus going from one point where the internet is and then just spreading out east and west. With the old setup, there was no real way to troubleshoot the network. I made a simple to design from Point A to Point B, Point B to Point C, and then from Point C it goes out to all of the different points throughout the network, which was VLAN'ed out to each building. Then, each building has its own IP address.

It was very easy once I understood how it's supposed to be set up. We have a lot of different clients in various units, like a stockbroker or a financial person, so we had to lock down the network and make sure that no one else could see what they're doing and make sure that they didn't have cross-communication between each building.

I wouldn't say you have to be an IT expert, but you definitely need to know what you're doing. You definitely need to understand the concept behind the functionality of what the switch can do, especially VLANs and making sure what type of traffic is going through the network and through the firewall, so you can make sure that the communication is tagged properly.

You should have some years of experience working on a network like that in order to put it in place. I don't think a beginner would be able to get it to work efficiently. Even me, as a professional who has been in the industry a very long time - for over 15 years - it still took me a little bit of time to make sure that it was set up properly, by talking to the engineers to make sure that the functionality was working like it's supposed to.

We got the deployment done with two staff members; for the actual switch itself, one person is enough, easily.

What about the implementation team?

It was just us, just our company. I did the full implementation myself. When I ran into any issues or needed to some questions answered I reached out to NETGEAR's engineering staff and they helped me.

What was our ROI?

We saw a return on investment immediately, as soon as we implemented the system, because we weren't going onsite to troubleshoot the existing problems. Being able to design it from scratch and utilizing good equipment allowed us to show the client that, in the end, we can cut back on our hours. We don't have to be there all of the time, which will save them money. And the time saved allows us to do other projects for them, which we're doing now.

I would say it has saved us about 30 to 40 percent.

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

When it comes to price-to-performance of the solution, overall, it's outstanding. That's one of the reasons I designed the network this way and chose this particular device. The overall cost was not that expensive compared to some of the competitors out there. Add to that the usability and functionality. And being able to troubleshoot the switch if there is a problem is so much easier because it's a modular switch. There are not too many modular switches out there.

The pricing is phenomenal. It's not only good for the company providing the solution, but the customer gets a good deal too. There's a good profit margin for the business to be able to resell it to a client or to offer a good price to the client. It's a win-win for both the company providing this particular equipment to the customer and for the customer.

The cost of hardware and additional services is low. We have three-year support that's built-in with NETGEAR, which is great. That might be standard in the industry, but as far as their help goes, they've been wonderful.

Right now, on the little switches, we're only using the switch. We're not really utilizing Insight because of the cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at a lot of the competitors out there including NETGEAR vs Cisco Ethernet Switches and Barracuda; you name it. I looked at all the different switches. NETGEAR was the one that caught my eye, especially with that modular switch.

I looked into Ubiquiti, but we already had Ubiquiti access points on the property. Personally, I didn't like the way that the controllers and the software were set up. I definitely like the NETGEAR stuff better.

The price point, compared to a lot of the competitors that didn't have the modular switch, was about 20 to 30 percent less expensive. The functionality and the tech support were big things too, in my decision to go with NETGEAR.

What other advice do I have?

If you're building out a network, utilize the skillsets of a consulting company that knows what they're doing, that understands what your problems are so that they find the right solution and the right products. Don't go to ABC Company and get a cookie-cutter package that's not really going to solve the problem that you have. Each does something different so having the right product on the network and knowing what the functionality of that product is, that's the big key to the puzzle.

Regarding the high-bandwidth AV over IP functionality, the property that we're managing has 270 units and they're all streaming on the network, either 4K or HD movies. They have Netflix and a lot of them use Amazon software or Amazon Fire, or they use a Roku or different streaming platforms through their TVs and on their network. High-bandwidth AV over IP allows the switch to just do its job, and the switch works really well.

We're not doing any routing through the switch, although it also has that capability which is great. Right now we have a firewall that's on the network that is controlling the routing but the switch does a phenomenal job, especially with the AV side of things. It has never held us back and the speed through it is pretty phenomenal. Most of it is through fiber optics so we're getting almost the full speed, which right now is at 250 by 250, at everyone's complex. Most of them are getting about 200, and we just upgraded the network to one gig, up and down, so we can't wait to see what the switch is able to do.

This solution is serving about 300 users. It doesn't take much for maintenance. As long as you do the firmware updates, and normally there aren't too many, it's good. We've put in place a lot of little things so backing it up is easy, it's automatic. The configuration file is easy. There's not much to do to maintain it because it does it automatically. It automatically backs up and it automatically updates the firmware. As long as the configuration file is saved, if there's ever an issue, uploading it is very easy too.

We don't have plans to increase usage at this time. We're using about 85 percent of the switch when it comes to the functionalities of what the switch does. We're at the point where we don't need to utilize it more because I designed the network to future-proof it ahead of time. Once I installed it I didn't have to change it anymore, because I knew that we were going to be getting the one-gig circuit. All of the equipment that's there is already built for a one-gig circuit. Once we get the new internet I just change the IP addresses and that's it. I won't have to touch it again.

It's helped us tremendously, in terms of the equipment, knowing that we can rely on the NETGEAR product. It will allow our customer to save a ton of money, in the long term, because we were able to remove all of the extra equipment. We were able to put in one piece of equipment, versus utilizing four different switches to run the network, switches which were bottlenecking the full network itself. It's helped us tremendously to be able to show them that we're a reliable company and that we offer great products. It does the job that we said it was going to do, and that's why I would continue using the NETGEAR product.

I would rate the M4300 a ten out of ten. Even with the issues I mentioned, it has saved me time and money, and it has saved our company money over any other switch. This switch, with the modular input of the fiber optic and the ethernet in the same switch, has saved us having to purchase extra equipment and troubleshooting that extra equipment. It's one piece of equipment, one point of access for us to go in and troubleshoot if we need to.

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.
SB
Principal Consultant at a tech consulting company with 1-10 employees
Consultant
We're able to pre-configure a device in the cloud, before it gets deployed

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the fact that Insight is cloud-managed. The whole reason behind it is that there is one central place to manage it. You can pre-configure everything and you can get access to it without having to get onto the client's network. That makes it easy to use and deploy."
  • "There is a technical problem they can't seem to solve. It doesn't support multicast packets. In layman's terms, Mac computers can't print over the network."

What is our primary use case?

We're an IT services provider so we have them installed at various clients' sites, and for various applications. The primary use case is for local area networks.

How has it helped my organization?

We're able to pre-configure a device, before it gets deployed, in the cloud. We don't even have to open up the box, we can just preconfigure it in the cloud. As soon as we deploy it onsite, it automatically gets configured.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the fact that Insight is cloud-managed. The whole reason behind it is that there is one central place to manage it. You can pre-configure everything and you can get access to it without having to get onto the client's network. That makes it easy to use and deploy.

Remote troubleshooting is good and easy.

What needs improvement?

The remote management tools still need work. They're good, but they still need work.

One of the big drawbacks is that the whole tiered administration doesn't work. They've got a tiered user structure where there is a global admin, and then what they call a manager, and then there is a user. The problem is, if anywhere along the line somebody opens up a support ticket, all the correspondence winds up going to the global admin, it doesn't go to the person who opened up the support ticket. They can't seem to get that changed, even when you tell them specifically that the global admin is not the person dealing with this problem. That's very frustrating.

Another issue, a technical problem they can't seem to solve, is that it doesn't support multicast packets. In layman's terms, Mac computers can't print over the network.

Also, they've got some PoE models, but they need to expand that line a little bit.

Finally, it would be nice to have the ability to have SNMP enabled at the same time Net Insight. I would also like to see integration with Auvik.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It still needs some work. It's got a couple of quirks where it will shut off ports because it thinks there's an IP conflict when there really isn't.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. It could probably go to 100 connections. That would probably be the equivalent of 30 to 40 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are a Netgear partner, so we get preferential support. Because we get preferential support, it's pretty good. We've had a few hiccups, but overall, they're good.

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

We were using Cisco and HPE. A big factor in our switch to NETGEAR vs Cisco Ethernet Switches is cost. Simplicity is another. Support is another because the support for HPE and Cisco is absolutely horrid.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward. It's all done in the cloud and you can manage everything from there. It's a whole lot easier than the traditional way of doing it. Deployment takes an hour, if that.

The best strategy is to preconfigure it in the cloud before it gets physically deployed.

As to whether you need to be an IT expert to deploy it and support your network, it depends on the complexity of the network. For simple applications, no. For complex applications, like multiple VLANs, and QoS, and PoE power management, etc, you've got to know what you're doing to set all that up properly.

What was our ROI?

We see ROI in labor savings. Deployment time is probably cut in half. We're billing for a regular deployment, but it only takes half the amount of time. That's $200 profit for us.

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

There are two parts to the pricing. There's the pricing of the device itself, which is good. Their licensing model needs work, though. The licensing model doesn't fit the way MSPs do business. They need to revise it to something that makes more sense for an MSP. And here, I'm specifically talking about Insight Pro licensing.

The cost of hardware and additional service is low. That helps our business because it's easier to make a sale.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were aware of lots of other options, but we didn't do any formal evaluation of any others.

What other advice do I have?

If you are an MSP, you should definitely look into it and plan to use it. I would recommend it.

Overall, we're very happy with the product. It's become our standard going forward. But there are some exceptions. One being the tiered administration. The other one is lack of support for support multicast packets.

Regarding staff for deployment and maintenance, it depends on if you're looking at our entire fleet of these Ethernet switches, which is scattered across multiple clients; then it's probably a tenth of a person. If it's one switch, it's less than a tenth of a person. Switches are low maintenance as a device, it doesn't matter whose they are.

We've got half a dozen deployed at various clients right now. And there will be more because we've got projects in the queue.

Overall, I would rate it an eight out of ten. The issues I mentioned that still need to be resolved come to mind, as well as the licensing structure that doesn't really make sense for us.

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.
DS
Owner at a tech services company
Real User
Provides a cost-effective solution that is easy to manage

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to manage them is the big valuable feature. The ease of use is great."
  • "The management of them, itself, is not so good. You have to go between many different browsers, even some super-old browsers, to be able to do it. That is a super pain."

What is our primary use case?

We use them for Layer 2. We use the GSMs. We use the M4300s. We use pretty much all the Layer 2 and 3 switches. We use them for Layer 3 routers. We divide subnets up with them. The management interface isn't the best because the browsers aren't consistent, you have to use many browsers to get into them, but we use many of them: 24-port, 8-port, 16-port, 5-port. We connect them, 5 or 10-gig modules.

What is most valuable?

The ability to manage them is the big valuable feature. The ease of use is great.

It's very cost-effective. All my guys know them. They're pretty consistent across the platforms. There are some inconsistencies but, for the most part, they're pretty darn good. They are something all my guys are familiar with at this point and they work very well. They're guaranteed for life, covering all the things that you don't think about until something happens.

It is consistent and that means a lot. The interface doesn't change a lot and that's important. When you get a new management interface all the time, it makes it tough.

What needs improvement?

The management of them, itself, is not so good. You have to go between many different browsers, even some super-old browsers, to be able to do it. That is a super pain. That's critical. If this list were much longer than that, nobody would use their product.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I wouldn't be using them if they weren't stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a very scalable product.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give tech support a "C" or a "B." Their support is not what I would like it to be. The pre-sale support is excellent. The post-sale support is average.

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

I didn't have a previous solution. I've always used NETGEAR. 

How was the initial setup?

The registration of the product is very easy to do. You register an upgrade code and away you go. In terms of how long deployment takes, I put one, two, three, four, or five in every office so, as a partner, I don't have a single deployment. I have a lot of different places that I have these in.

The implementation strategy is to get them cut over and back up and working as quickly as I can.

Regarding whether you need to be an IT expert to deploy and support a network, deploy: no; support: yes. Deployment would depend on the complexity of the user's network.

What about the implementation team?

We do everything internally.

What was our ROI?

The return on investment for us is the replacement warranty, cut and dry. That is why it's worth its weight to me. If they have a problem, we get them cross-shipped and they're taken care of.

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

The price to performance of this solution is very good. When it comes to pricing, as far as I'm concerned, they're very comparable with Ubiquity. NETGEAR has pricing that is as good as it gets. That's why I use them.

Regarding licensing, there is none. You register them and they're good to go.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

You have a lot of options. You always have Cisco. You had Nortel. There are many. They have a lot of competition. I'm a NETGEAR shop. I don't consider Cisco products.

What other advice do I have?

I don't know of any remote management tools. Everything we manage them with is onsite.

I would give it an eight out of ten. It's the most cost-effective solution out there. The management, as I said, from a browser standpoint, is very difficult in some cases, because we have some of them that are very old and we have to bounce around between browsers to manage them.

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.
KS
VP, Accounting and HR at Parrish Consulting
Real User
Online portal is very user-friendly and remote troubleshooting enables us to turn off a problematic port from anywhere

Pros and Cons

  • "Their online portal is one of the most useful features. The portal is very user-friendly, so even someone with not a lot of tech experience can go in and see what's going on with the switch."
  • "The remote troubleshooting is pretty easy. You can turn off a port that might have a network loop created, or where there might be a bad NIC card that is creating issues. Being able to turn off that port remotely is fantastic, instead of having to replace the whole switch. Remote management is really easy."
  • "Their old firmware was a problem for us and we're still working on it. It didn't apply correctly so it took about half of our switches offline, which meant we couldn't use some of the functionality like the firmware updates. Unfortunately with that firmware, which they've sorted out, if you don't go through all the firmware and make sure it's past that point and back online, that's an issue with them. It's something to cautious about"

What is our primary use case?

We put them in locations that are far away from us. We're located in Indiana but we've put them is in Kansas. The solution enables us to manage it like we are actually in Kansas and we can do almost anything remotely, so that's why we deployed them there.

We're using the GC728XP, that's their 24-port Insight switch.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of use and deployment, it's really easy because we have the customer set up already, so the configuration gets downloaded right away. Once you have your first customer set up, any switch that you buy for them, going forward, the setup time for that up gets cut down dramatically. Technically, we don't have the set up the switches at our office. We could just send them directly to Kansas. But we always like to double-check. It does go through a few rounds of firmware and we want to make sure that it always gets to the correct one. Sometimes customers don't realize how many times it needs to update.

What we've found is that if you give your customer access to their admin portal, even though, as a managed service provider, they're paying us to manage their equipment, the insight it gives them means they can actually see what they're paying for now. It's really user-friendly. It's very visual, so you can see what ports are being used. Visually, it's much easier for a customer to understand what they're paying for, which helps us, as a managed service provider, retain those customers. That's what we really like about it.

Another way it's helped is, let's say a network is down. Instead of my trying to talk with an end customer to get them to troubleshoot - and that's going very slowly, because they're trying to do their own job - what happens instead is that I can do it remotely and get it done maybe within an hour or so. 

Instead of

  1. working with an end user for a couple of hours, and 
  2. when that doesn't work, sending someone for a minimum eight-hour drive to the closest one in Kansas and as much as a 14-hour drive to the farthest - that would be almost two days where I lose a tech just driving. Then another day for them to fix the issue themselves and then the time to drive back. So, if it's the furthest location, I could lose a full week of an employee's time, instead of an hour or two troubleshooting within the portal.

Finally, the cost of the hardware and additional services is low and it helps our business because that's exactly what our customers are looking for. We can finally upgrade their old equipment and they can get something newer with all of the features that we wanted to give them and it's actually in their price range. Before, they weren't willing to upgrade their equipment because, if they want it cloud-managed, the solution was too expensive. This has helped our business to provide better service to our customers, and that's what they look for from us.

What is most valuable?

Their online portal is one of the most useful features. The portal is very user-friendly, so even someone with not a lot of tech experience can go in and see what's going on with the switch. 

The newest release, where we get to schedule firmware updates, is another extremely useful feature. The firmware updates are great for us because we can schedule them in off-hours for the business and at times where we'd rather not be physically at the office waiting for a switch to update.

Those two are the features we use most. But they have a lot of features, all the way down to port-level insight, seeing which ports are being used, what's happening. Cable Test is another one. We haven't used it that often because we haven't had a need to, but it's nice that that feature is there.

The remote troubleshooting is pretty easy. You can turn off a port that might have a network loop created, or where there might be a bad NIC which is creating issues. Being able to turn off that port remotely is fantastic, instead of having to replace the whole switch. Remote management is really easy.

They also have a great app. It's something we've had to get used to using. Most IT professionals are already on our computers and it's easy to use their computers. But the app is great and easy to use, and it has pretty much all the same functionality. Overall, it's easy, once everything is done correctly and you've gotten to the right firmware.

On a scale of one to ten, the ease of use is a nine. I'm not the most IT-literate. Technically I'm the CFO and I do tech work on the side. But it's incredibly easy. It's really straightforward. I don't know how to describe it in any other terms. It's just user-friendly, even for those with little to no tech experience. You don't need to know command lines in this user interface. It's very mouse-friendly. You can just drill down by clicking on things like ports, etc.

I don't think you need to be an IT expert to use the Insight Cloud Portal switches. It's really straightforward. They have a lot of warnings if you do something you're not supposed to, like set up a networking loop. That makes it really great for people who aren't familiar with how to support networks. If you set up a networking loop, that will take down your whole network. Even if you've caused that, it will keep your network up so you can look at the alert and find, "Oh, that's a networking loop," and unplug it and stay on track. This is really user-friendly for people new to networking or for small businesses that are trying to support themselves and that don't have internal IT. I think this would be really easy for them to use.

When they came out with the Insight Pro Edition, a lot of the MSPs were really happy because it allows us to support multiple customers in the same pane of glass. I can have different customers, and different locations under those customers, but keep them so that the customers don't see who else we support.

What needs improvement?

Their old firmware was a problem for us and we're still working on it. It didn't apply correctly so it took about half of our switches offline, which meant we couldn't use some of the functionality like the firmware updates. Unfortunately with that firmware, which they've sorted out, if you don't go through all the firmware and make sure it's past that point and back online, that's an issue. It's something to cautious about. Before you send this to a customer, make sure it's updated to the most recent firmware, otherwise you can't use the features which are the reason you bought the switch. That would be a cautionary tale. And because it's new, there are firmware updates coming pretty often.

One other issue was that we did have was one hardware malfunction where we had to replace a switch, which is unusual for NETGEAR. They have some of the best products out there for small to medium-sized businesses. They do have a warranty replacement for five years on the switches, so we got it replaced. It was a bit of an inconvenience.

So be a little cautious when buying the equipment. It is still new, it's not like the established NETGEAR switches. There might be some hardware problems in your first year.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of the stability, so far so good. We've only been using it for five months. Overall, it's kept up pretty well. We just had that one hardware replacement. It's not as stable as all their other Ethernet switches because it's new and we had that one replacement, but overall it's pretty great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's really scalable. As I said before, if you've already had your network configured for a given customer, you're not doing any more work the second, or third, or tenth time to configure a switch if it's like every other switch. It just downloads the configuration from the cloud.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we have problems using the interface, getting NETGEAR support is a little difficult, but once you get to the right person, they can help you sort things out. They're working on making it easier to get to the right person. They are trying to get their resellers more support and better support more quickly. There's still some room for improvement there.

I would rate tech support at six or seven out of ten. It's not terrible. NETGEAR is the premium product for small to medium-sized businesses, and they need more support than, say, a large business, which has an internal IT department that can support the user individually. So when we reach out to them, it should be easy to get someone on the phone or through chat who really understands the product. They're still trying to teach their own staff about all the different functionalities in Insight, so that's where there's a bit of a disconnect.

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

We've almost always used NETGEAR, we just never used their Insight product until they came out with it. We have used other switches, of course, depending on customer's needs. A cheaper one would be TP-Link, but we've found that with a little bit of a price increase, NETGEAR outperforms them every time, and NETGEAR has the lifetime warranty, which really is a huge cost savings for our customers in the long run. So we try to recommend them as much as possible.

Right now though, the Insight switches only have a five-year warranty, but that's still better than most of the other switches on the market. So you get a business-enterprise switch at a really good price, and it has this tremendous value with the warranty so that anytime the hardware fails, you'll get a replacement. That's really nice for our customers. They look for value and for savings over the long-term because most of our customers are not in the business of IT, they just need IT so that they can keep up their actual business.

Before they came out with the Insight product, if we had a customer who was really interested in that information - they wanted a cloud-managed solution - if they could afford it, they would most likely go to Meraki or Cisco route. But we deal in small to medium-sized businesses and most of them cannot afford the annual subscription that goes along with having that type of equipment.

The majority of the time, we've recommended NETGEAR for the value that they provide.

We have used TP-Link if the need is for a small switch. Before the NETGEAR Insight, we were just using the normal NETGEAR models, like the M4300. We used those quite often. We used the Cisco Meraki switches if the customer could afford it, but that's on the high end.

How was the initial setup?

To set up the first five switches, took a couple hours, max. We were getting aquatinted with the new portal, so we had to set up our login credentials, but each switch took maybe ten to 20 minutes, max 30 minutes to set up. It was really straightforward.

We used the same strategy that we always do because we're always cautious with new products and want to make sure we fully understand them. We ordered the first six, set them up here, and then physically went out there and installed them ourselves. They're easier, for setup purposes, for non-tech people to use, and tech people, of course, will have no problems using this interface. Now that we have more experience, it's a lot easier to set up than the first time. We could, if we wanted to, just ship these to Kansas already configured and, if there's someone capable onsite, have that person put it in the rack for us.

For deployment, we usually have one to two people go out and run cables but, to be perfectly honest, if we weren't running cables, if we were just installing the switches, it would only take one person to configure it and put it in the rack. It wouldn't take much time at all.

What about the implementation team?

We don't use an integrator or reseller because we're a managed service provider and we do all of that for our end customers. We do it from start to finish. We recommend equipment to our end user, we purchase the equipment, we configure it, and we install it. We do everything for our customers.

What was our ROI?

I think there's been a return on investment. With the firmware problem there was a little bit of an issue. If we didn't have that problem, we would have already seen a return on investment. It will be a full year before we really see a big impact on our bottom line.

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

NETGEAR pricing is the best on the market by far. I was shocked when I saw what their price came out as for their subscription. It's extremely reasonable.

The great thing about the Insight product is that the renewable subscription is much cheaper than the competitors in the market. It is not over $50, per year, so customers buy the equipment and don't have to worry so much about the renewable fees that go along with having such access into their switch, with a cloud-managed solution. There are some other manufacturers where you'll essentially pay the same in hardware as you do in software, just for the cloud solution that supports it; just to keep getting the firmware updates and all of that information.

With NETGEAR, you can do multi-year and that is something like 90 percent cheaper than if you're looking at Meraki, for example. It is extremely competitive. It's one of the main reasons we liked it so much. It's one of the reasons we push this so much. We want this information in the cloud and we want this insight, but we didn't want to commit our customers to such a hefty subscription fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have considered Meraki. We've not used Ubiquiti that frequently. 

What other advice do I have?

If you're in a small to medium-sized business, if you're a business owner, or if you're an IT company providing services to small and medium-sized businesses, this is a great solution. Seriously consider it, especially if you're looking for a cloud-managed solution that's not very expensive.

Overall, the remote management tools of the GC switch are good. There were some issues at the beginning with the initial firmware, getting it updated. We've pretty much sorted those out. This is a new product for them, so we knew that there were going to be some speed bumps but, overall, it's still better than having no easy portal to see through. The normal way you would log in to a switch is much more difficult than what they're providing.

The only thing that I didn't realize when I was setting these up is that you need to make sure that it gets to the right firmware. It doesn't get online as easily as possible, as easily as some other Ethernet switches. It does go through a few rounds of firmware updates. But everything else is really easy. Even the VLAN setup is pretty straightforward. I didn't have any issues besides that firmware. I haven't set up a new switch in a few months, so this could be a moot point. I'm just cautioning new users.

We only have one customer currently using this, with nine locations. There could be some 50 users total. They don't have a high concentration per building. We've gotten the 24 ports for all the locations, and it seems to be handling the traffic very well. We're still testing it every day, and NETGEAR has been great about working with us if we see any issues. They've been on it to get feedback addressed.

I would give it an eight out of ten. The only reason is that it is a new product. They're working out some kinks. Otherwise, in a year it's going to be the best solution out there in terms of price and value. When we first got it, they didn't even have a 52-port switch. Now they do. They're coming up with all of these additional products to give the full solution. They're coming out with a cloud-managed router as well, connecting all of those things into a full solution: they have the access points, now the switches, and the routers. That, and the consistency of the network, making sure the devices are always connected to the cloud reporting correctly, would make it a full ten. 

I know they are working on it. I was out there with NETGEAR telling them my concerns and they heard me, and I know that they've already addressed a few of those things and were just working on the last few.

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.
HM
CEO at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Alerts tell us when to use remote management to instantly manage a client's solution from a laptop or phone

Pros and Cons

  • "Remote management is the most important thing for us. And monitoring, of course, allows us to see when something is wrong with a client. We get notified that an access point is down, for instance, or that there are too many clients on one access point, so that we can log into the portal and manage the solution with the client instantly, from either a laptop or a cell phone, with the Insight app."
  • "The main negative thing is the speed. When you use the portal, if you have a lot of customers and locations in the portal, and you need to scroll through those clients or those locations, it takes a pretty long time to load those pages and to select the client. That's the problem in the portal on the laptop, and it's the same problem in the portal on the app."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for the SMB market, small and mid-size businesses. In Belgium, compared to America, a small/mid-size company in Belgium has 50 to 100 people. It's a little bit different than in the U.S.

We're using mainly the GC728XP, that's a 24-port switch; and the GC752XP, that's the 84-port switch. For the smaller ones, we use the GC110P.  For the access points, we only use the WAC510.

How has it helped my organization?

We recently had a problem with a client, a restaurant in the city. We had installed the Insight management solution for the switches and the access points, and another solution for the router. On Sunday, a day we don't normally work, we got a call from the client that there was a problem with one of the access points and one of the switches, regarding their table-booking solution. Through the Insight app, I was able to quickly look at possible problems at the client's location. We determined that the switch that the table-booking system was connected to was down. It was offline. I told the boss of the restaurant to have look at a particular cabinet because there is one switch that's stored away beneath the point-of-sale system and the booking system. There was an adapter that was not inserted in the power plug.

It was pretty easy to determine the problem at the client's, without going to the client and having a look at it myself. It was solved in five minutes and that's something we couldn't do in the past without Insight.

What is most valuable?

Remote management is the most important thing for us. And monitoring, of course, allows us to see when something is wrong with a client. We get notified that an access point is down, for instance, or that there are too many clients on one access point, so that we can log into the portal and manage the solution with the client instantly, from either a laptop or a cell phone, with the Insight app. That's the most important feature for us.

I also find it very easy to use and deploy. I have a few colleagues who aren't so involved in technology and they can set it up pretty easily with a cell phone or with a laptop. They scan the serial number or the QR code on the device, it gets automatically assigned to a client, an Insight portal, and the configuration and firmware updates happen automatically. It's very easy to use, very easy to config. You just to put in the configuration once, and all the devices that you scan and assign to that client or that location will be updated and installed automatically.

The remote troubleshooting is easy to use, intuitive. The alerting is very clear. It's very apparent when you have an alert on a device. It comes to the foreground and it says that device has an issue and then you can directly look at the issue of the device.

The Facebook login is very important for our clients.

What needs improvement?

The main negative thing is the speed. When you use the portal, if you have a lot of customers and locations in the portal, and you need to scroll through those clients or those locations, it takes a pretty long time to load those pages and to select the client. That's the problem in the portal on the laptop, and it's the same problem in the portal on the app.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Up to now we haven't had any stability issues with the Insight application. We have been using the Pro version for the last four or five months and we haven't had any stability issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have a restaurant here in the city that uses something like 22 access points, so it scales pretty well. I don't think there is an issue on that side. It's still a small business solution, it's not a large-enterprise solution. NETGEAR has other products for that. But for the SMB market, it's a pretty nice, scalable solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did have one problem with an access point. It was defective. We sent it in and three days later we had a new product, so the tech support was really helpful. They had us do a few things and then they said, "Okay, send it in and we'll send a new one." That took three days and we had a new device. The tech support is pretty good.

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

We used Ubiquity. The main reason we switched was because we had a lot of defective products from Ubiquity. The main problem was that, in Belgium, there was only one year of warranty on Ubiquity products. It was not such a good deal. They're cheap. They're pretty good. We had the devices for three years and then we had something like three, four, or five defective access points, and they were all out-of-warranty. The first one that went down was one-and-a-half years old. With the one year of warranty, we couldn't do anything about it except buy a new one.

With NETGEAR hardware, we have lifetime support and lifetime trade, so I didn't see any reason not to change. They're better products, the management platform looks better than the Ubiquity Unify version. The price was good, the support as well, and, I must emphasize, the warranty is a lot better than with the Ubiquity products.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up the Ethernet switches Is pretty simple and straightforward. They have a device, they create a client, they create the location in the Insight portal, they scan the device, and it gets automatically assigned to that location. Firmware updates, setup, and the configuration are automatically deployed. It's very easy to deploy a new client.

On average, for the setup and the Insight portal, deployment takes about ten to 15 minutes. In general, the deployment of a switch and, let's say, five access points, including the firmware updates and pushing the configuration, takes about an hour.

For our team, internally, we had a webinar for training. All the guys followed the webinar and they started directly with the approach of installing the Insight environment. It was all explained on the webinar from NETGEAR.

In terms of needing to be an IT expert to deploy and support the network, you do have to know something about IT. If you don't have any knowledge of IT, I don't think that you can deploy the Insight Pro - I'm not talking about the Basic or the Premium versions. For the Pro version, you do need some IT knowledge, but for the Basic or for the Premium version, no IT knowledge is necessary, because all the setup is done through the mobile app. The entire process is very, easy for the Premium. With the Pro version, you have the extended portal on the internet, and you have a lot of more features than in the Basic and Premium versions.

What was our ROI?

If you look at our customer with the restaurant, the return of investment is less than one year. You can put in these devices, have the latest software, the latest features, and especially in summer, when the restaurant has a lot of people, it's an attractive solution for doing some marketing around it. You have a good WiFi solution, and you can extend it to your guests.

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

Insight pricing is okay. It's very competitive.

The costs of the hardware and additional services weren't low because Unify is much cheaper, but the costs conformed to the market. When you look at the hardware specs, the price and the warranty, the complete package was much better than any other vendor. If you consider those three main aspects of NETGEAR Insight and NETGEAR Insight devices, and you put them next to Ubiquity or Cisco Meraki, or even TP-Link, in our opinion, it's better hardware, it has a better warranty, and for the price you have to pay, it's a pretty good product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before we went to NETGEAR, we had a look at, of course, Ubiquity; we had a look at Meraki vs NETGEAR, and we had a look at TP-Link. All together we had four in the running, and NETGEAR came out as what we thought was the best solution and, in the end, it was the best solution.

What other advice do I have?

Just try it. It's a good product, it's a good solution. If you come from Ubiquity, it's a little bit different but, in the end, it's all about the devices and the reliability of the devices. With NETGEAR you get that good device reliability and you get a little cheaper price than Cisco Meraki.

As for the remote management tools, the general look and feel are okay, but the speed could be increased. That's one of the minor points of the Insight portal, is that it sometimes lacks in speed when loading certain pages for certain clients.

In general, there are about 18 to 20 internal users. For the guests it ranges from, let's say, from one to 100 or 120.

We require no staff for deployment and maintenance. With Insight, if you look at it from the standpoint of a reseller, you don't need to have one dedicated person for management of it, because it's all done on one portal, one application. When there is an alert from a device or a client, you can have a look at it, but you don't need a dedicated resource for management of the environment.

For the moment it's not necessary to increase usage. It's pretty brand new.

I rate the solution a nine out of ten. They could make it a ten by making the interface faster, providing more devices to choose from to put in Insight, and by adding a few more features to the Insight portal; software features, like reporting and alerting. Those two things should be extended with extra features.

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.
Jess Holderbaum
Senior System Administrator at a agriculture with self employed
Reseller
We like the network monitoring and ease of programming of VLANs for our customers

Pros and Cons

  • "Valuable features include network monitoring and ease of programming for VLANs, etc. I especially like NETGEAR because it's easy to teach system administrators how to use them, how to look at them, how to make changes to them without having the complexity of CLIs, but still having a CLI should we need it."
  • "What I'd like to see is more compatibility with virtual stacking, so that 4300-series switches and 3300-series switches will actually stack together and that virtual switch stacks, themselves, are not limited to just six devices, so that they can create larger loops with more bandwidth and more redundancy."

What is our primary use case?

For the enterprise-level solution, it's for small to medium businesses. I'm quoting NETGEAR to pretty much everyone, instead of any other type of switch.

In terms of the NETGEAR models we use, it depends on the situation. We've used 4300s, 3300s, we've used a lot of Smart Stacks and Smart Switches and Plus Switches. We don't use really anything that can't be slightly managed, so it has to have at least a web interface.

How has it helped my organization?

We're an MSP. Let's say we do an entire network retrofit with a customer. We're talking about increasing bandwidth backbones ten to 20-fold, from one gigabit to 20 gigabits, utilizing the virtual stacking with the switches. It allows our workflow, managing their systems, to be quick and easy. We can do it remotely very well and we can do a lot of very granular programming changes without having to be onsite.

It's hard to give you metrics because what we do is rebuild entire networks, and most of them are old and dilapidated. They may have been okay in their day, but we're talking 10-year-old networks a lot of times. What we're doing is increasing their bandwidth, increasing security, and increasing the flow of traffic and data, depending on type, etc.

What is most valuable?

  • Network monitoring 
  • Ease of programming for VLANs, etc.

Also, I especially like NETGEAR because it's easy to teach system administrators how to use them, how to look at them, how to make changes to them without having the complexity of CLIs, but still having a CLI should we need it.

What needs improvement?

There's very little that I see as having large room for improvement, as far as the switches we're using go, for the most part. What I'd like to see is more compatibility with virtual stacking, so that 4300-series switches and 3300-series switches will actually stack together and that virtual switch stacks, themselves, are not limited to just six devices, so that they can create larger loops with more bandwidth and more redundancy.

I like the NETGEARs because they do everything exactly how I want them to, for the most part. There's not a lot that I would require for them to do better. It might be nice to see the little things like providing some switches with four SFP ports like they used to have, instead of just two, in those lines that we're looking at on the stackable side. Right now, it seems I have to have either eight SFP ports or two and there's no in-between, that's also stackable and managed, or at least stackable. The problem is that there's got to be enough of a need for them to actually create them. For me, those are little things that I would like to have, just to allow for a little more flexibility in what we're doing.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Regarding the switches, etc., the uptime is going to be comparable, the same as any other types of Ethernet switches that would be fulfilling the same roles. It may even be better in some cases because of the ability to have lifetime warranties and replacements.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've currently maxed out the scalability of the switches, and this revolves around the virtual stacks. I would love to be able to add more switches into the virtual stacks. That's probably the only expandability I worry about right now. We've just implemented 10-gig to 20-gig connections, so we're pretty much at the top end of the spectrum.

The thing we would like to do at some point is to start looking at the 2.5-gig and 5-gig switches, possibly, for access points. But I think I might just go straight to 10-gig to be future-proof. They already have those switches in place. The industry itself is not going at that speed at the desktop level, so they're perfectly positioned. The scalability is such that it wouldn't have to be done for another four to five years and maybe not even then.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have limited experience with their technical support because the switches are easy enough to understand so I haven't needed it much.

As far as the technical support we have gotten, it's more the automated technical support that I would like to see. I'd like to see a better Knowledge Base, better articles, things written by NETGEAR engineers to explain step-by-step how-tos, not just for me, but so that I can give them to my technicians and assistant administrators. It would be helpful if they could look at them on the screen and know how to do things, as opposed to having to call someone.

If we have to call someone, then it's already gone beyond the point of getting help. It means we probably need to replace the device.

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

Previous solutions were all over the place. I've always liked NETGEAR, I've always liked their price point. I've used them pretty much everywhere that I can, at least on the business level. I'm not really fond of the consumer grade, but I work in a business atmosphere so consumer grade shouldn't be there anyway. 

We've used the Ciscos, we've used Dell EMC, we've used HPE. They're all good, but NETGEAR has really cleaned up its act and made it look good and easy to use.

How was the initial setup?

For the initial setup with the NETGEARs, there could be a little bit better help documentation for it. Small how-tos, and better explanations of what all the features are, because they do have a lot of features - which is wonderful. That involved a little bit of a ramp-up time, but it really wasn't a whole lot. 

The initial setup is really easy with them. It's easy to create a standard setup with them that can then be repeated across multiple customers, which then helps when technicians are maintaining them.

We do multiple deployments. One deployment, for a small business, could take a few days. Another deployment for a medium-sized business, depending on the number of locations, could take a few months. 

For instance, one of our customers has six locations across the United States, so we had to be able to get to those locations and then set up for, and be ready for, the entire installation and replacement of the old switches with the new. That implementation took time because it had to be planned. This particular customer is a 24/7 customer, they never go down. We were trying to maintain as close to a 99% uptime as possible, while still replacing their entire infrastructure.

The switches themselves have can be worked pretty flawlessly and quickly and enable us to make on-the-fly configuration changes onsite very quickly. One of the other reasons I like them is because it's just that easy to use them.

Our implementation strategy is typically trying to schedule some amount of downtime and then checking on the configs of the old switches, possibly pre-programming switches before they come into place, if I have that capability. We then bring those switches in onsite, bring the old switches offline, and put new NETGEARs in online. That is for existing customers. For new customers, we just program ahead of time and almost just drop them in and they're ready to go at that point.

As to whether you need to be an IT expert to deploy and support such a network, it depends on what you consider to be an IT expert. I think I'm an IT expert and I can do it. Someone at a much lower level than mine can also deploy and maintain these Ethernet switches. Are they IT experts? Well, it depends on what they know. 

The problem is that I'll see people who think they're IT experts but they know very little about actual IP and VLAN-ing and the like. They don't really know what Layer 2 or Layer 3 is or what the whole OSI structure is. It depends on what you call an expert: Is it someone who knows the whole structure or is it someone who knows the intricacies of routing BGP and OSPF and RIP? You don't need to be at the CCNP level. You don't even really need to be a CCNA-level, if we're talking about Cisco equivalency, because it's very easy to do but also very easy to teach.

What was our ROI?

We have not yet seen ROI. It's only been a couple of years since we first started. The return on investment is going to be hard to put a number on a because we sold these and they're working really well. If it continues the way it's going, then we're going to make a healthy profit, while still providing top-tier support for our customers with top-tier equipment.

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

It's a great price-to-performance solution. I think it's singularly the best price-per-performance we can find, if not just straight performance to begin with.

We like the idea that they're going with the Insight Pro licensing. We like that it's a per-device and it's handled by us, the MSP, versus being handled by them. For instance, with the Merakis, all the licensing is handled by Meraki, and Meraki will try to undersell you or sell you right out of your own client, when it comes to reopening subscriptions.

NETGEAR has taken a different approach and values its partners much better. That's something that's very important to me. There's not a lot of need for licensing other than that, because, while I can buy some types of subscription for some of these, for support and such, we don't really need them. They have a lifetime warranty and we have staff on hand to be able to handle most of the more complex issues that we would have, other than things that need hardware replacement.

The cost of hardware and additional services is lower, absolutely. I wouldn't say "low," but we found it to be lower than other options, and that helps us resell this back to customers who are looking at other things like a Cisco Meraki, where the money is very important. On the school level, municipalities have very limited funds and if they can get more bang for their buck and it really means that much more, then it's a lot easier to sell a NETGEAR than a Cisco Meraki, especially since the longevity is there and there's a better warranty on them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've looked at Cisco's Merakis vs NETGEAR and HPEs vs NETGEAR and done price comparisons versus manageability, but the NETGEARs, far and away, were better. Merakis are very good, but the price point is way too high, and the required subscriptions could leave some of our smaller customers without connections because they're forgetful or just don't know to do these things or don't want to pay for them, constantly, like that. I like the way that NETGEARs work. They go well with our business model.

We did not consider Ubiquiti. We need something more mainstream and we weren't willing to go with them. We don't think they've been in the game enough.

What other advice do I have?

Strongly consider using NETGEAR in replacement of some of the other larger switch manufacturers. Recognize that the manageability is there at a lower level so you can employ less-highly-skilled people to maintain the devices. As far as small and medium businesses go, they need to be able to have that ability because they don't always have dedicated IT people. You're better off going with this type of implementation because the features are there, the ability to program is there, and the ability to understand them is far easier than it is for a lot of others, making the implementation a lot easier.

In terms of the AV over IP, we split everything up in the VLAN so we don't differentiate AV. We don't have a lot of AV traveling over the networks, just yet, other than the occasional IP camera. Most of them are still in their own switch network.

Deployment could take one or two people. A lot of times it would be myself as the network architect and then another system administrator to help move things, unplug things. It's more of a physical issue. The switches themselves are very quick and easy and barely even take any time out of my schedule. I don't really schedule for them because they can be done on the fly. It's more about the physical limitations that cause scheduling to go awry.

As for extent of usage, for us, any new or refurbished network is 100 percent NETGEAR as far as the backbone and switching go. We will continue to be using them. They're making good advancements in their product lines and they're well-positioned where they are now for how we need to use them. I'm very happy with them.

I would rate NETGEAR at about an eight out of ten, only because I always think everyone has room for improvement. As I said, they need a little bit better Knowledge Base, they need a little better help or support online, directly on the switches or from the switches. Documentation is key for me. And, as I said, I need more stacking when I do virtual stacks. I want to be able to do a lot larger virtual stacks.

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.
WIM WOUTERS
Developer with 11-50 employees
Real User
Failover and LACP links give us redundancy; if one switch fails the other takes over

Pros and Cons

  • "The most important feature is the failover, the LACP links. That's the dual set it allows. We have redundant core switches and, if one fails or one network adapter fails, the other one can take over without problems."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for networking. We use the switches from NETGEAR for 10GB internet. We are using the M4300.

    We implement our own solutions. We resell to clients in the audiovisual sector. We specialize in audiovisual productions, 3D animation, compositing, and the like. Our clientele is all in the same sector.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We upgraded from a previous, 1GB-only solution so it should be a lot faster but I don't have any benchmarks on it. In the past, there were some complaints from employees that the network was slow but I haven't had any more complaints about it. That's a metric, of sorts.

    What is most valuable?

    The most important feature is the failover, the LACP links. That's the dual set it allows. We have redundant core switches and, if one fails or one network adapter fails, the other one can take over without problems.

    You have to know a bit about networking of course, but for me the ease of use is about a nine out of ten.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Less than one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's very stable. I haven't had almost any issues since it was up and running. 

    I had one issue with an extra WiFi deployment that I did, which caused network interruptions, but it had nothing to do with the core installation. It was just the WiFi equipment that brought down the network because of loop creation, but that had nothing to do with the main switches.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Currently, I have five Ethernet switches running. I think it scales up to eight within one stack, so that is more than enough for our purposes. Instead of going with discrete switches, which have to be managed separately, one of the big advantages of this product is that you can put it all in one stack. The whole switch stack is viewed as one big switch, which is really good for us. So it's very scalable. In the future, I could even add three more switches and I think they have a new product now that has 96 ports. It's way more scalable than we will ever need in our company.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have not needed to contact technical support yet.

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

    We used HPE previously. The reason I switched to NETGEAR was because of pricing differences, which are huge, when you go into 10GB networking. It was mainly a price-oriented decision. I also read a lot of positive reviews in the forum I visited, so that was another factor which made me decide to go with NETGEAR.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was very straightforward. I just configured a few IP addresses, maybe a few settings on the ports, and that was it. The whole system was set up in about one hour or so. It went very smoothly.

    The whole deployment was in phases. I first set up the core switches and hooked them up to the old switches and then gradually changed everybody over to the new stack. The total time was about a month, before everybody was switched over. It all went very smoothly. It could have been done in a day if nobody had to keep working. There wasn't an option to shut down the company for a complete day, so I had to do it gradually.

    I planned the migration ahead of time. I calculated the time it would take to get the units here. We actually did a complete overhaul of our server room. We moved it inside of the building, so I had to switch over to the old switches to the new server room. So there was quite a lot of planning involved, mostly on the timing of when the steps would be taken. I had to do some calculations about how much time every step would take. There was quite a bit of planning, but it all went quite smoothly, so no complaints here.

    I don't think anybody without knowledge of networking would be able to set up the system as I did it. Expert is a "big" word, but you have to know something about networking before you can use this kind of product.

    What about the implementation team?

    I did everything myself. I had some help from people on a forum called Spiceworks. I contacted NETGEAR directly and they put me into contact with the Benelux departments. But I did the integrations myself. We are also a reseller of servers and networking equipment and the like. So I'm quite good at that stuff.

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

    The price-to-performance of this solution, on a scale from one to ten, is about nine. 

    The pricing is quite good. We don't have any kind of licensing on the device, as far as I know. There's one product which you can purchase a license for, it's NETGEAR Insight, to manage the switches remotely on the Internet, but we don't need it. I just manage them locally.

    It helped us save some money, of course. The total cost of the deployment was about 11,000 euros or so. If I had gone with HPE it would have been at least twice as much. I think Cisco might have even been more expensive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    At the beginning, I was looking at Cisco vs NETGEAR but I didn't get any response from Cisco. I also looked at HPE, but it was a bit too expensive for a 10GB. I did a minor bit of research about their products, but it quickly became obvious that NETGEAR was the way to go for us.

    I didn't consider Ubiquiti. Ubiquiti is okay for smaller deployments but, as I said, we are scaling up in the coming months to about 50 workstations, a few office machines and about ten servers, so I don't know if Ubiquiti would have been an option for us. I know they have high-end gear also, but I didn't look into it.

    What other advice do I have?

    Just buy it. If the network is the same scale as my network, about 100 PCs and about ten to 15 servers, it's an ideal solution for that. Also, go look on Spiceworks for help. Ask for Kieran. That is somebody from NETGEAR who helped me out a lot.

    I don't think anything is missing in the product. I don't think there should be any improvements.

    At the moment, we have about 15 users and we will scale up in the coming months to about 50 users. In terms of deployment and maintenance, it's just me. I do everything related to IT in the company.

    Everybody uses the product because it's our core switch. I think we have some overhead in regard to the number of clients that are connected at the moment. In that context, I think its usage is about 30 or 40 percent, at the moment.

    We don't use the high-bandwidth AV over IP functionality.

    Overall I would give it a nine out of ten. Nothing is perfect. If it were perfect, I would just have to plug in some cables and the system would manage itself. Then I would call it perfect. But you still have to put some work into it, and that's normal.

    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.
    EG
    Owner/CTO at a tech services company
    Real User
    Enables us to push settings down to multiple devices at once and see the status of all our clients' devices in one pane of glass

    Pros and Cons

    • "We have one client that has three Insight switches and when we make a change to their network... we can make the configuration change and push it down to all three switches at once. We don't have to individually log on to each switch to make the change."
    • "One of the biggest benefits of the remote management is that it's easy to use and you can use it from a mobile device or tablet with the app they've developed... If one of my engineers is out in the field at a client and an alert comes in from another client, that engineer can take that alert and look at it in real-time."
    • "The remote troubleshooting features provide a single pane of glass where I can see my all my clients' equipment. If they're reporting a problem, I can go to the Insight Pro interface online and I can bring up that client and I can see all their devices and the status of all their devices."
    • "One area that has room for improvement, and I know NETGEAR is working on it, is adding more features to the products lines in terms of what we can manage through the Insight portal... not all Layer 2 or Layer 3 settings are there yet."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use the switches for our clients. We're an IT services company. We set them up for our clients when they need networks built or when they upgrade networks or adjust network infrastructure. We switched over to the Insight product line.

    We use the GC510 and GC510P, which is the Power over Ethernet model. We also use the GC728X and 728XPs, and the 752Xs and 752XPs.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is very easy to use. They give you the ability within the screens to make changes and you can push them down to all the devices at once. It's saving us a lot of time in terms of making changes on our customers' equipment by making changes at the organizational level and just pushing a button to push them down to the equipment.

    Using the Insight product line and the Insight Pro interface has reduced the amount of time that my organization needs to spend on two things:

    1. Setting up the equipment. By having it all configured in the system and being able to push down the configurations to all the devices at once, we've saved at least 50 percent of the time we would spend setting up new equipment for our customers. 
    2. The other piece where we've saved a huge amount of time is in maintenance. For the networking equipment we used previous to Insight, you would have to log on to the equipment and push up the firmwares that had the security fixes in them, and do it manually. By using the Insight product line, we can schedule the firmware updates for all the equipment at the same time or at different times, but we can have it all automated and that's easily saving us six to ten hours of labor per customer per quarter.

    What is most valuable?

    Two of the most important features are the ease of monitoring and setup. The setup is a breeze with the Insight switches and monitoring of the Ethernet switches for our clients through, in our case, the Insight Pro account, is also a breeze.

    NETGEAR has made it really easy to deploy these devices because you just put in the serial number and the system dials home and finds the right account to be attached to. I can set up and preconfigure everything for my client in the Insight Pro interface, put the serial numbers in, so when we bring these things online, they can go home, they can get their configuration, they check in, and do all that stuff automatically.

    And through the Insight product line, you can push the settings down to all your Insight devices. For example, we have one client that has three Insight switches and when we make a change to their network - for example, we have to add a VLAN for whatever purpose within the organization - we can make the configuration change and push it down to all three switches at once. We don't have to individually log on to each switch to make the change.

    I really love the remote management as well. One of the biggest benefits of the remote management is that it's easy to use and you can use it from a mobile device or tablet with the app they've developed. I have technicians and engineers who work for me and support my customers. If one of my engineers is out in the field at a client and an alert comes in from another client, that engineer can take that alert and look at it in real-time using the app on his phone. He can figure out what might be the problem and actually even solve the problem without the issue having to be transferred back to the main office to have someone else address it.

    The remote troubleshooting features provide a single pane of glass where I can see my all my clients' equipment. If they're reporting a problem, I can go to the Insight Pro interface online and I can bring up that client and I can see all their devices and the status of all their devices. I can start to dive into it and look at, "Okay, what's the throughput on this switch?" I can then quickly identify, "Well, there's something attached to this switch that's causing a flooding of the network," for example. I can then actually identify which port it is and then address it quickly.

    What needs improvement?

    One area that has room for improvement, and I know NETGEAR is working on it, is adding more features to the product lines in terms of what we can manage through the Insight portal. There are certain features that we can turn on and push down to all the devices, but not all Layer 2 or Layer 3 settings are there yet. NETGEAR is working on that, but one of the things that is not 100 percent is the feature set that they make available through the Insight interface.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have not seen any problems with it. It seems very stable. We're getting alerts when things are going wrong, so it's not like we're missing anything. My impression is that NETGEAR has a very stable platform in the Insight product line.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    They have a very scalable product line. They offer quite the range of networking devices and equipment. Between their Ethernet switches, their access points, and their firewalls, they've got a veritable range within each of those product categories that can meet my needs and, I would assume, the needs of our customers, anywhere from enterprise level down to the mom and pop shop.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their support has been very good. Any time we've had an issue, which has been minimal, they've been very responsive and things have been resolved within 24 hours, tops. Usually, most of the stuff gets resolved on the initial call.

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

    Previously, we used different equipment. I switched to them because they not only have the Insight product line saved us a lot of time, but it's also very cost-effective compared to other solutions out there. I believe that from a dollar value perspective, the Insight product line is an excellent product line. You get lots of features for the price that you're paying and you don't get that kind of feature-density-per-dollar with any other product line out there.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward. We create an Insight Pro account, which is pretty straightforward, and then add my engineers to the account so they have access to all the customer's stuff. Adding a new client into our Insight Pro account is very easy. So setting up the whole Insight infrastructure that we use to manage and monitor all the Insight devices on behalf of our clients is a breeze. 

    As far as setting up the equipment goes, I mentioned earlier that they dial home automatically and then we can push configuration information down to all the devices at once, so it's definitely a breeze to set up multiple devices.

    The deployment time on average for the customers where we've used this equipment is on the order of one hour. Previously it would take us anywhere from six to eight hours to preconfigure things, test them, and push it out.

    In terms of our implementation strategy, we get the equipment in-house and we bring the equipment online for the customer in our lab. We preconfigure everything and set it all up and verify that the configurations are all working. In the past, that could take anywhere from six to eight hours to do. It included downloading firmwares, uploading them one at a time to each switch, setting the VLAN settings or the Layer 2 or Layer 3 settings on each switch individually, then connecting them all together, and making sure they were all working. With the Insight product line, it takes an hour or less because we plug it in, they dial home, we do the configuration to the cloud, push it down to all the equipment, and then we can see immediately if it's all working properly through the Insight interface.

    If you wanted to deploy this type of equipment without IT expertise, I'd say you could do it. The reason you could do it is that, the way the Insight products are set up with the portal interface, they make it very easy to identify the features that you want and to turn them on or off without necessarily understanding how to get into the switches themselves and make those changes on the switches.

    What about the implementation team?

    Everything was done internally.

    What was our ROI?

    The return on the investment, in switching to Insight, is that my staff needs less time to manage those devices, compared to the previous devices that were there. My staff has been able to go out and do more work, take on additional products. It has also freed them up to do things like some additional education and training and to improve their skill sets, which makes our whole organization better.

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

    The pricing for what you get with the Insight product line is very fair and the value is there, including the annual licensing fees for the Insight Pro for each device. The pricing is very fair for the features that you get. In fact, I believe that the Insight Pro level, which is their highest level, where you get a lot of features with the Insight, is a bargain. You get a lot of good features for what you're paying there annually.

    I feel that the pricing for the devices and licensing is low and, obviously, it helps the business because I was able to upgrade to the Insight product line and get better, newer, more modern equipment at a very reasonable price. I was able to take some money that was saved from a budgeting perspective and spend it elsewhere within the organization to improve other aspects of the business.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I looked at Cisco Meraki vs NETGEAR, and Ubiquiti as well. I ended up choosing NETGEAR because of the cost, the quality, and the ease of use. Insight makes it easy. I know Meraki is Insight-like: you plug them in, they dial home and you can set it up, but Meraki is very expensive compared to NETGEAR. I also looked at HPE switches.

    What other advice do I have?

    Definitely consider the Insight product line, but make sure that you understand what you're getting and that you're getting the right piece of equipment within the Insight product line. Consider getting that licensing so that you can manage it online.

    The number of users in our organization is about 25. In terms of their roles, there are financial folks who are using it for the organization, there are service people who are using it, and the executives are obviously on the system and using it as well.

    For deployment and maintenance, as far as staff goes, I don't even need a full-time person for it. Their role is just to do the configuration: Set up the devices per the design that was done for the network and then maintain it. The maintenance is just monitoring it and then fixing anything that might come up. I don't need full-time people to do that.

    Insight is, today, about 15 percent of the equipment on the infrastructure. My plan is to actually get it to 100 percent. My intention is to take it all the way and have everything Insight-based.

    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.
    Andrew S. Baker (ASB)
    Cybersecurity & IT Operations Professional (VirtualCxO) at BrainWave Consulting Company, LLC
    Consultant
    Top 20
    Netgear has solid, cost-effective switches with enterprise functionality

    What is most valuable?

    • QoS
    • Port trunking
    • PoE+

    Netgear has solid, cost-effective switches with enterprise functionality that I am very happy deploying on my network, and on SMB customer networks.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I put together a mesh configuration of GS108E and GS110TP switches for several customers to allow them to setup a full High-Availability (HA) configuration between two different ISP devices (modems/routers with only a single customer link each) so there was complete failover between each firewall and each ISP device.

    The devices are easy to deploy, easy to configure, and easy to upgrade, especially with their Smart Control Center (SCC) software.

    What needs improvement?

    A slightly, more featureful CLI interface would be great.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have deployed this specific config for over a year across multiple offices.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    The deployment went smoothly, but we have had to revisit the overall configuration to allow remote management of the outside interfaces (for unmanned sites).

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability has been fine.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not needed to scale in this config, but the other switches we are using (GS724Tv3, GS728TP) have been well able to handle our traffic.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    I have only had to use live customer service infrequently over the past four years.

    Technical Support:

    On the few occasions I have needed support, technical support has been top-notch.

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

    This was a new deployment, based on good experiences with Netgear switches in other areas. We have replaced Dell PowerConnect switches with Netgear ones.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was straightforward to get the devices connected to the local network, updated to the right firmware, setup with the right configuration, then get that configuration replicated to other devices (with minor changes).

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented it on behalf of my customers.

    What was our ROI?

    The project did not have a direct ROI consideration. It was implemented to reduce the labor necessary to handle various failover scenarios.

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

    Netgear costs are very straightforward. There is very little in the way of separate licensing costs.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No, I recommended a solution based on my experiences with quality and functionality of switches in the mid-tier market.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Infrastructure Expert at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    GS108 Gigabit Ethernet Switch. Plug and Play

    Valuable Features:

    The GS-108 switch by Netgear is an excellent solution for setting up a wired gigabit network. I currently use it at home to wire my rack-mounted server, my gaming desktop/workstation, PS3, Xbox 360, network accessible printer, along with all my Cisco routers and switches that I use for config testing. I remember I bought it on sale almost 5 years ago, and it has been ticking away ever since. Never had a single problem with it.

    Room for Improvement:

    The only issue I have, and it's not really an issue so much as me being a control freak, is that this is an unmanaged switch. I am a DD-WRT developer and would love to have the granular control I have over my router, on this switch.

    Other Advice:

    I use the GS108 8-port Gig-E switch on a daily basis, it's what runs the wired portion of my VLAN on my home network. I've also used plenty of Netgear enterprise managed switches in the past and usually rely on them as a cost-effective alternative solution to Cisco equipment. They're reliable and sturdy enough to take a beating and keep on ticking.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user1128
    Infrastructure Expert at a government with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Boost your network performance with Netgear

    Valuable Features:

    Net gear switches come with auto sensing Ethernet connectivity. They automatically detect 10,100 and 1000 Mbps speeds and act accordingly. They support both half and full duplex connectivity. Monitoring LED's are available for switches to enable you to identify the link, speed, and activity of a switch. The FS108 utilizes Store-and-Forward switching, which verifies the integrity of data before forwarding it across the network so that you don't waste bandwidth on junk transmissions. The Netgear FS108 is a simple, economical, path to high-speed Ethernet connectivity, giving you solid performance and running usability! No fan, means no noise, which helps maintain a peaceful atmosphere in your busy office. It also supports green technology which helps you save a lot of electricity.

    Room for Improvement:

    If it’s generating a lot of hits, then it can hang up network. You need to reboot the switch for the network to run once again. VLAN management facility is not available on some models.

    Other Advice:

    This product has a high stability standard. You can easily plug and play. Buy Netgear products to increase your network performance.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user1083
    Manager of Operations at a aerospace/defense firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Netgear switches are easily affordable and easy to install products.

    Valuable Features:

    Some of the Netgear Ethernet Switches are available in the market at a low cost, so they are easily available. Moreover, setting up these switches is quite easy. Few of them are only plug and play. Netgear has both managed and unmanaged switches starting with 5 Port to 24 Port. Few series of 5 Port and 8 Port switches are quite popular in the market. There are only a few steps to configure them. 24 Port JS series provide a good amount of bandwidth with 4.8 gbps speed and a transmission rate of 200 mbps. Some of Netgear Gigabit model like GS series, QoS (Quality of Service) is configured internally and easy to install and operate. Netgear Switches are quite handy for small enterprise networks.

    Room for Improvement:

    Though Netgear Ethernet switches are available in the market at a lower price than Cisco Switches, the ultimate market leading switches, they lag the edge of superior security features in them. Features like 802.1x protocol, IP-MAC port binding, etc. can not be easily configured in manageable switches. For larger enterprise networks, where complex VLAN environment is desired, Netgear switches do not provide the required features. There are very few products available that support Gigabit speed.

    Other Advice:

    Users from small and medium networks are quite oriented with Netgear Ethernet Switches. They are easy to install and some of them can be plugged into the wall. Their low cost makes them easily affordable. These switches can be effectively utilized in a small group of VLANs. Power consumption requirement is also quite a bit less than other commercially available switches.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user1011
    Manager of Data Center at a insurance company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Go for Netgear switches if you are looking for a gigabit switch that is affordable and easy to setup

    Valuable Features:

    1. Netgear switches are relatively cheap. 2. It comes with lower power consumption. 3. Netgear switch setup is easy. 4. It also supports auto full duplex sensing with noise reduction.

    Room for Improvement:

    Traffic management capability should have been a plus.

    Other Advice:

    I bought netgear Prosafe Plus 24PORT Rack Mountable Gigabit Switch because of its unmanaged nature. It is very simple to use – as simple as plugging in your network cable. The new branch that we deployed with the switch, runs on Cat6e cable with a mixed network adapter that supports both 100Mbps and 1GBps transmission speed. We were therefore able to segregate between high bandwidth and medium users without additional cost or professional skill. With my laptop that supports gigabit transmission, I was able to download 5GB file from our server within 3mins.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.