Five Cisco Product Line Tweaks For SMBs

Cisco Targets SMBs

Cisco on Thursday unveiled a slew of devices designed to help SMBs build networks capable of handling the exponential increase in mobile-connected devices and cloud adoption while offering the user productivity that people expect from any network they happen to be using.

The broad array of new products encompasses managed switches, routers and wireless access points as well as voice and unified communications devices and systems. Cisco also revealed more details about OnPlus, a portfolio of managed services that permits resellers to instantly become remote administrators of their customer networks at a cost of just pennies per day.

Low-End WAPs

According to marketing documents released by Cisco, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population this year. How will all these devices connect? Through Cisco's two new low-cost wireless access points, of course. Listing for $173, the WAP121 is an IPv6-ready, 2.4 GHz Wireless-N AP that can broadcast up to four SSIDs, supports QoS over 100-Mbps Ethernet and can run on AC or PoE.

One step above the entry-level WAP121 is the more VAR-friendly WAP321, a Gbit-Ethernet AP that works over 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies, can broadcast up to eight SSIDs and also supports IPv6, QoS and PoE. Listing for $310, the WAP321 also can provide a captive portal for secure guest access. Both are managed via browser and include a web-based setup wizard.

Switching Gears

Citing more than 3x growth in network traffic from mobile PCs, smartphones and tablets, Cisco responds with new managed switches that fit between its mid-level 300 series and the sub-enterprise Catalyst line. Encompassing 12 models in all, the 500 and 500x series come in 24- or 48-port capacities with 100-Mb and Gbit Ethernet, PoE+ and IPv6 capabilities. The 500X series adds 10-Gb connectivity, aggregate speeds up to 20 Gb and stackability for link redundancy and higher availability with support for the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol. Pricing ranges between $590 and $5,556.

Router Mojo

A cut above its entry-level RV110W, Cisco introduces the RV180 ($182 list) and RV180W ($246 list), a pair of four-port Gbit Ethernet routers that support VLAN and QoS, and can handle as many as 10 VPN connections, offering remote access for Windows, Max OS X and mobile clients or for creating IPsec VPN tunnels for gateway-to-gateway connectivity or other specialized uses.

The RV180W adds multi-function wireless access with WDS for establishing point-to-point or point-multipoint connections or for acting as a repeater. The unit also can work strictly as an AP as networks age or needs change.

Smarter Phones

A pair of new Cisco phones include smarter software for greater productivity. The single-line SPA512G ($194 list) and four-line SPA514G ($219) IP phones feature support for the latest remote management and provisioning protocols, additional memory capabilities and include high-definition voice for greater sound fidelity. Updates to Cisco's UC320W ($995 list) unified communications controller include support for up to 24 users, hunt groups with forwarding, e-mail notifications of incoming voice mail and analog phone support.

Agent Secret No Longer

Announced late last year, Cisco's OnPlus managed services will cost $250 for a three-year subscription, the company revealed Thursday. At a cost of about $5 per month, per customer, resellers deploying the pint-sized hardware agent can provide remote monitoring of client-side equipment with auto-discovery, direct connectivity, control and configuration of Cisco managed hardware, and real-time health and performance alerts with VAR-programmable thresholds.

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