Networking Vendor Debuts Lifetime Warranty For SMB Gear


The lifetime hardware warranty extends to the vendor's ProSafe line, including its switches, security and wireless products. It provides lifetime replacement coverage for hardware failure -- including fans and internal power supplies -- to original owners of its equipment.

The new warranty is effective on equipment purchased after May 1 at no additional cost, said Peter Newton, senior product marketing manager at Netgear, Santa Clara, Calif.

"We're looking to communicate to our customers and potential customers that Netgear does build reliable products, and we're hoping to see an increase in sales," Newton said. For channel partners, the new warranty should "enable them to go to their customers with confidence and remove that question of 'why Netgear?'" Newton said.

Networking rival Hewlett-Packard already offers a lifetime hardware warranty on most of its ProCurve Networking by HP products, a strategy solution providers said has proven successful.

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"It's a really big deal. It is a primary reason, not the only reason but a primary reason, why people consider the Hewlett-Packard product line," said Jeffrey Goldberg, president of Washington Computer Services, a solution provider in Brooklyn, NY, that most frequently works with networking vendors Cisco Systems, HP ProCurve and D-Link. "It will improve the perception the marketplace has of the value of Netgear equipment."

Previously, Netgear offered a limited lifetime warranty on its higher-end managed switches, including Layer 2 Gigabit, Layer 3 Fast Ethernet, and Layer 3 Gigabit Ethernet products. The limited warranty capped out at three years past product discontinuation, Newton said. Now Netgear is removing that cap and extending the lifetime warranty to the rest of its ProSafe family, which previously came with warranties ranging from two to five years, he said.

The move comes as a variety of networking vendors are taking steps to boost their share of the SMB networking market. "This is certainly an effort to raise the visibility of our SMB product line," Newton said.

Cisco Systems is preparing to launch a new global partner program for the small business channel of its Linksys division later this year and last month launched a new small business partner certification and a small business VoIP platform under its own name. ProCurve Networking by HP is preparing to recruit 2,000 new U.S. partners to extend its current base of 3,000 solution providers, many of whom will focus on the SMB market. D-Link, meanwhile, is trying to push upstream into the enterprise channel via a distribution partnership unveiled last week with Westcon Group.