Netgear customers get switched-on

Netgear Australia's first shipment of managed switches has sold out in a frenzy just one month after the product was released to market. Peter Newton, Netgear's product line manager based in the US, said the success of the product has exceeded any expectations, particularly in Asia-Pacific and Europe.

The FSM726S is Netgear's first foray into the managed switch arena, which to date has been dominated by Hewlett-Packard and 3Com. The product is intended to compete head to head with 3Com's 3300 and HP's 25/24 Procure switch and Newton is confident the newcomer can pick up significant market share using the brand's trademark ease-of-deployment and a low shelf price of $2,800.

Unlike its competitors, Newton said Netgear will not attempt to bump up the sticker price by charging extra for cables and modules. "The stacking cable, modules matrix and gigabyte module are all there in the box with the FSM726S," he said.

The arrival of the product has been a relief for integration partners, according to Ian McLean, managing director of Netgear Asia. Many dealers competing for government and education tenders, which often mandate the use of managed switches, have had to source alternative brands. McLean said it was primarily demand from these dealers that spurred Netgear to build the switch. "We're not saying that everyone needs managed switches but there are some people that want to go to that level," he said.

The management aspect takes the Netgear offering to a higher class of customer, according to Newton, while still retaining the virtues that have made it successful in the low end: it is network enabled, easy to use, powerful and kind to the budget.

There are other smarts built into the product, Newton said; for example, the establishment of V-LANs so departments' data is segregated and doesn't flow into other areas.

The US market has been watching the success of the product in Australia with some envy and Newton said it will adopt more of the Asia branch initiatives. Meanwhile, Netgear is reviewing all its forecasts for the product.

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