Netgear has announced the launch of a new cloud-based networking management software tool for SMBs that aims to make it easier to handle the growing demand for WiFi services.
The Business Central software allows firms to manage and monitor devices connecting to the network via Netgear access points installed on their premises.
The service is accessed via a web browser and offers the usual management tools, Netgear said, such as setting up wireless SSIDs and wireless security settings, controlling free or fee-paying guest and private WiFi use and running bandwidth use reports.
The firm said that Business Central could prove an ideal tool for retail chains, coffee shops, small offices, multiple branch offices and restaurant chains as it removes the need to purchase, update, support and maintain additional hardware to control access points.
Peter Newton, senior director of product management for the Netgear Commercial Business Unit, said that networking demands are rising in all locations, and that a tool to facilitate the management of networks without having to deploy more expensive hardware is an ideal middle ground.
“Having multiple standalone access points is no longer feasible as configuration changes become routine rather than occasional,” he said.
“What’s needed is a bridge solution between standalone access points and a controller, where flexibility, scalability and ease of use are standard and, more importantly, affordable."
The software works with five Netgear access points for now, all under the ProSAFE brand. These are the dual-band WNDAP660, WNDAP360 and WNDAP350 and the single-band WNAP320 and WNAP210v2.
Prices have not been determined but are likely to depend on the individual resellers that offer the product and the size of the requirement for each business.
Dependence on WiFi networks is expected to grow in the years ahead, especially as more internet-enabled hardware hits the market as part of the Internet of Things revolution. This could put even more strain on organisations' networks.
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