Enterprise wariness over Wi-Fi is giving way to confidence, according to Netgear. Although better known for its small office, home office (SoHo) networking products, the company has just introduced an enterprise-class 802.11g wireless access point priced at just £188.
Manda Rigby, Netgear's UK and Ireland managing director, says that she has found a growing number of medium-sized businesses among her customers, and that these companies are increasingly willing to consider brands such as Netgear alongside the likes of Cisco and 3Com.
"We are half the price of Cisco, but we are of a quality that's at least worth buying a few to evaluate," she said. "With the new wireless security standards like WPA and 802.1x about, people feel a lot more confident."
She added that Netgear has made the WG302 ProSafe access point much more manageable than its simple-to-set-up SoHo products, as well as adding features such as Power over Ethernet and the ability to work simultaneously as an access point and a bridge.
"It's the advanced security and manageability features that make it enterprise-class," she said. "Medium-sized companies usually have at least one dedicated IT person, and they need that management capability."
As well as 802.11b and 11g, the WG302 includes a version of SuperG that supports both the channel bonding and packet bursting methods of doubling throughput to a theoretical 108Mbit/s. Rigby acknowledges that these can cause problems in busy areas but says that while this could be a problem for a SoHo audience, enterprises are more savvy.
"If people do proper sniffing to see what's on what channel, there will be no problem with SuperG, and enterprise IP people tend to be more aware," she said.