Within the past two weeks, Aruba Networks, NETGEAR and EnGenius Technologies have all introduced new wireless networking products designed specifically to meet the unique needs of small businesses.
"The quality and security of Wi-Fi connectivity is a real consideration for small business customers when they're deciding where to play, stay, dine and do business, because so much about the overall experience is tied to staying connected," ZK Research founder and principal analyst Zeus Kerravala said.
Research firm IDC recently predicted that two thirds of SMBs "will have digital transformation as a key part of their IT strategies by the end of 2023," and noted that the "growing interest in digital transformation has placed new demands on SMB communications infrastructure including wireless LANs."
Each of the new offerings has a distinct strength with regards to ease of use, cyber security, and the latest in wireless technology.
Aruba: Ease of Use
Aruba this week announced the Instant On family of wireless solutions for small businesses with up to 100 active users, with a focus on ease of use – the company says the products allow a new network to be set up in minutes.
Available next month starting at $119, the products leverage Aruba's 802.11ac Wave 2 technology with a mobile app for setup and management as well as a cloud-based Web portal.
There are five Instant On products: the AP11D desktop access point; the AP17 weatherproof outdoor access point; and the AP11, AP12 and AP15 indoor access points, which support up to 50, 75 and 100 active devices each, respectively.
NETGEAR: Enhanced Security
NETGEAR this week announced the availability of the Nighthawk Cybersecurity AC2300 WiFi Router (RS400), which is available now for an MSRP of $300, with three years of NETGEAR Armor powered by Bitdefender included (an ongoing subscription after that costs $70 a year).
"In this era of heightened concern around the security of online data, NETGEAR believes that it is crucial to provide a powerful Wi-Fi router that is also capable of safeguarding a network from online threats," NETGEAR vice president Sandeep Harpalani said in a statement.
The idea is that the RS400 becomes the first line of defense against malicious traffic, including vulnerable IoT devices. "In addition to scanning incoming traffic for security risks, the RS400 also monitors for and can intercept rogue traffic generated from a device, in the event that a device has been hijacked," the company said in a statement.
EnGenius: Wi-Fi 6
In March, EnGenius became the first vendor to launch a 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) access point for the SMB market, the EWS357AP, for $189. "We are proud to be the first ones to bring the new Wi-Fi 6 technology in a 2x2 access point for small and medium businesses that want to enjoy enterprise-quality networking solutions," EnGenius general manager MC Leo said at the time.
And last week, EnGenius announced the availability of the EWS377AP high-capacity Wi-Fi 6 4x4 access point for $339. "The 4x4 EWS377AP access point brings the power of Wi-Fi 6 in reach of early adopters from the SMB space, and is our response to meeting the ever-growing demands for building future-proof wireless networks," Leo said.