Netgear Readies New Access Point

wireless access point WLAN

Lianne Caetano, a product line manager at Netgear, said 802.11a provides faster wireless access with less interference than 802.11g and delivers better performance for business wireless users.

>> Netgear is facing stiff competition in its efforts to provide SMBs with WLAN gear.

Competitors such as Proxim, 3Com and Cisco Systems already offer access points with support for both 802.11a and 802.11g.

Exact pricing for Netgear's new access point will be announced when the product ships in the first half of 2005, but Caetano said it will sell for less than $500.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Netgear already is a strong player in the wireless consumer space but is encountering stiff competition in its efforts to provide SMBs with WLAN gear.

Sponsored post

According to In-Stat/MDR, a recent survey of 394 SMBs showed that among customers thinking about deploying a WLAN, 18 percent are considering using Netgear, said Sam Lucero, an industry analyst at the market-research firm.

Netgear came in third behind Linksys and D-Link, which were cited by 38 percent and 22 percent of respondents, respectively, the survey found.

As part of Netgear's business push, which started in earnest two years ago when the vendor formed separate business and consumer divisions, Netgear plans to leverage its growing VAR channel, said Doug Thiele, director of U.S. VAR sales at the company, which began courting VARs two years ago.

"We do find the majority of VARs we deal with are driving the business-class products," Thiele said.

Don McKay, vice president of Alden Associates, a Redmond, Wash.-based VAR, said his company partners with Netgear because he is confident about product quality and potential for longevity.

But Netgear may need to be very patient with the development of a healthy VAR channel, McKay said. "It's just going to take some time to build," he said. "There aren't many VARS that carry multiple lines [of networking products], so it's hard to pick up those people."