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Netgear Addresses Small Biz

SOHO-focused 802.11 gearmaker Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) has today made good on its promises to introduce kit that will appeal to small enterprise customers, with the launch of its first switch to be used with updated access points for voice-over-WLAN and other applications.

Netgear, which recently went public, says that its FSM7326P Layer 3 Managed 10/100 Switch [ed. note: Mmmm, catchy] can support up to 15 of its newest WG302 ProSafe 802.11g (54 Mbit/s over 2.4GHz) access points – or other third-party boxes – and use the Power-over-Ethernet (POE) standard to provide them with juice (see Netgear Shifts Up for VOIP). As Patrick Lo, the firm's CEO, told Unstrung back in September, the WG302 uses pre-standardized quality-of-service (QOS) extensions to prioritize voice traffic on the network (see Is 802.11 Ready for VOIP? for more on the basics of VOIP over wireless LANs).

So far, so ordinary. The Netgear AP setup offers modest features that are unlikely to have dedicated switch vendors such as Airespace Inc. or Aruba Wireless Networks rushing back to the labs.

Netgear is only charging $1,750 list for its switch, though, much lower than the prices being asked by the rest of the switch set. This could be appealing for smaller firms looking to deploy a managed wireless LAN network or larger companies unwilling to make a major investment in this kind of system yet.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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