For those that manage medium and large-scale networks consumer platforms just don't get the job done. Netgear has long maintained a footing in the IT industry with its ProSafe line of switches that cover a wide range from unmanaged to Smart managed L2 and L3 switches. The latest in technology has brought in a new platform from Netgear, Insight Managed Switches.
Insight Managed Switches are just the beginning for Netgear as they have developed a wide range of solutions to take advantage of this unique remote management feature. Devices such as Orbi Pro and their full lineup of 802.11ac Access Points can be monitored and controlled via Insight. ReadyNAS storage too has been integrated for many models, so let's dive in and run through what Insight is all about.
For this article, Netgear has sent over their GC110p Switch, WAC 510 Access Point and ReadyNAS 422. The GC110p carries a $189.99 MSRP while the WAC510 comes in at $99.99. The ReadyNAS 422 has several turnkey capacity options along with a diskless. In its diskless form the RN422 carries a $329.99 MSRP. All of these products carry a 5-year warranty.
We begin our hardware journey with the GC110p VIZN Switch. Packaging is colorful but straightforward with a brief description of the switch and its capabilities at the top right.
In the box, we have a large power adapter due to the PoE capabilities of the switch. We have rubber feet for desktop mounting and screws for wall mounting.
The switch itself is colored white to denote its cloud capabilities; you will also find a cloud Icon with its own LED to the left.
On the backside, we have a standard 8-port switch layout with two SFP for expansion. On the left, power, cloud, and PoE have separate LEDs while each port has its own set for connectivity. To the right power input at 48v 1.6 amps and Kensington lock slot.
The bottom offers wall mounting options and a sticker with default IP and login info.
Moving to the Access Point, we have the WAC510 in-house. This is a Wave 2 AC1200 solution, 867Mbps on the 5GHz and 300Mbp on the 2.4Ghz. Of course, this is an Insight solution denoted by the logo at the bottom left.
The spine of the box gives a full specification list for the AP.
In the box, you will find the AP and guide.
The WAC510 does come with a quick mount for your wall or ceiling installations.
The WAC510 offer power input to the left for those without a PoE injector or switch. To the right, we have WAN input from your Switch and LAN passthrough to a secondary device.
So there are a few thing to know about Insight. The first two devices you setup with Insight run on the base platform for free, which in theory would give a home user the ability to manage a switch and AP without any additional cost past the hardware. For business users, each device will incur a 10$ per year charge but have access to Insight 4.0 features with an unlimited number of locations and devices.
Moving on, we have two way to manage your Insight devices. The first is the web portal and where I recommend you set everything up. We first setup a location, for me "Home", is my only location.
Moving into summary, you can see we have 1AP setup along with the GC110p switch. Platform health is to the right and we have a quick glance at port utilization and wireless clients down below.
We can then move to the wireless tab to see what APs are online, the clients connected to them and traffic moving through the network.
The ability to manage SSID along with other options is available as well.
The wired tab gives an immediate look at PoE power usage on the switch along with traffic and port usage.
App Setup and Final Thoughts
App setup is similar to the web interface. You will first login to your Insight account. This will give you your list of devices. As you can see above, we have our AP, Switch, and NAS all setup.
Management start similar to the web portal with your locations. By default we are on the health tab below and above, we are at our home location and below you can see we have Wireless, Wired and Storage tabs for this location. Clicking on one of the tabs shows you more information, for Wireless the amount of clients connected.
Wired gives us insight into port utilization.
Storage shows us total system capacity with a chart of usage.
Moving over from the bottom health tab to networks, we see a full list of options that can be managed. These include WiFI and Wired settings along with Storage and firmware for all devices.
Clicking on a device category from the previous menu will bring you to a full overview of your device. For storage, we have our ReadyNAS 422, system and CPU temps are listed above in bold color while below we can manage and look at storage used, AV settings and current IP. Further down the page, we have RAID mode and usage in a graph.
For the GC110p this advanced menu gives us a look at each port denoted in color for status while above we have a 24hr traffic counter.
The switch menu goes into further detail allowing you to enable or disable ports setting power limits per port and even connection rates.
As for the Access Points, the app gives you a peak at clients, the number of SSIDs configured and traffic. You can slip into the Radio and channels menu to configure more SSIDs and their associated bands.
Further, into the AP menu system you will find the usage chart for each band. This will give you insight into devices that are connected and what platform they are on.
Since late July early August, I have been using the platform we went over today. I've been quite amazed at just how much more stable these business platforms are over a typical consumer router.
Remember, I don't typically review business solutions and even this Insight Managed platform required a few emails back and forth with Netgear to get setup. That said, once I was setup, management is so streamlined you don't need an IT professional to manage your network any longer.
Build quality of the hardware is fantastic, with the switches having a full metal enclosure and Access Points glossy plastic. PoE works without issue and the little performance testing I did do showed similar performance to an AC1200 class router.
With Insight, Netgear has a pretty impressive portfolio and it's even more impressive to know its all built in to the products. From the start, Insight solutions are designed to be managed from the cloud so everything down to bare metal is configurable on the go from the app. Furthermore, the portfolio is growing with new switches, storage and hopefully soon 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 Access Points. Manufacturer: Netgear
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