Netgear has been at the forefront of the SDVoE (Software-Defined Video over Ethernet) initiative with multiple AV switches serving the growing market. The ProAV lineup of managed switches have been sold primarily in a B2B setting by the Netgear Business division. These switches are increasingly becoming part of luxury residential installations requiring an AV-over-IP solution. As part of the CEDIA Expo 2022, Netgear is announcing a new 'Netgear Home Solutions' push. The intention is to take the same lineup of Netgear AV products sold by Netgear Business and target it towards both commercial and residential installations.

As part of this initiative, Netgear will be selling ProAV Managed Switches and ProWiFi Access Points to residential installers, along with the Pro version of Insight Remote Management and Pro Support. While the ProAV Managed Switches are already in the market, the new WAX628 and WAX638E APs are complementary to the currently existing members of the Insight Access Point Portfolio.

The WAX628 (already available for residential installers) slots in-between the dual-band AX3600 WAX620 and the tri-band AX6000 WAX630. This AX5400 dual-band solution supports 160 MHz channel bandwidth, and is accompanied by the AX7800 WAX638E which adds 6 GHz band support to the mix. The Wi-Fi 6E AP is slated to come to the market in the next few months.

Netgear is promising margin protection for installers by selling the ProAV and ProWiFi products only through the channel and not via Amazon or other e-tailers. Since these products are going to reach end-consumers through custom installers who have their own cost structures, the lack of any pricing information from Netgear is not surprising.

Netgear's traditional consumer Wi-Fi router market has evolved rapidly over the last few years. Despite the success of Orbi (in both the consumer and SMB markets), new entrants like eero have gained significant mind and market share. In this context, Netgear has to look towards services and expand into new markets in order to maintain and build upon their technical leadership. Forays into lucrative niches like the residential installer market are not surprising.

Source: Netgear

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  • Eletriarnation - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    "Netgear is promising margin protection for installers by selling the ProAV and ProWiFi products only through the channel and not via Amazon or other e-tailers."

    I'm interpreting this as "Netgear is promising to keep the price of these units obfuscated so that installers can charge $300 for parts on a $100 AP and not get accused of ripping people off." Am I off base here?
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    Shh! You're not supposed to be astute enough to recognize such things or point them out in a comment that anyone with an internet connection can read. Please instead be excited about all the meaningless features, blinking lights, and product names.
  • Threska - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    After hearing complaints about a game bundle being too high, the bar for "ripping people off" is pretty low.
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    Mostly but not exactly. The trick with integrators is that they'll astronomically charge for installation and design. You can get quotes from them for the hardware but you'll notice some steep discounts on everything: a MSRP of $1000 for an IO card will often be sold to you for $500 as part of a volume discount program while it only costs the integrator themselves $400 to purchase. Expect pricing for that IO card example to float closer to that $1000 MSRP figure if you want to simply purchase it and install it yourself on a self designs/maintained system.

    This may not be a terrible thing though for businesses or high-end residential setups as things can easily spiral into complexity. For example, hanging one of these access points off a 10 ft pole from the ceiling for better coverage off of a 30 ft high ceiling takes some effort and logistics. For a business a structural engineer maybe necessary to sign off on bolting the weight onto an already loaded beam or a scissor lift to reach the ceiling. Insurance liability etc. also come into play with these types of complexities.
  • wolrah - Monday, October 3, 2022 - link

    Exactly. This is the way of the pro A/V world, weird products that are "installer only" for no good reason other than protecting a bad business model. Even remote controls are like this, if you want basically anything fancier than a Harmony remote the "pro A/V" world has ensured you have to jump through hoops and pay a "partner" for the privilege.

    Dear A/V installers: I install networks. I quote hardware at actual retail price and have often encouraged clients to go buy the hardware themselves because they could get a better deal than I could through my vendors. I make money because I charge for the install. I don't need to go through this nonsense and neither do you.
  • Samus - Monday, October 3, 2022 - link

    We can just wait patiently for Ubiquiti to launch a 6E AP for a fraction of the price with retail availability. Not sure what Netgear is trying to accomplish here by limiting distribution on a product that isn't in a unique position.
  • bbusa - Friday, November 4, 2022 - link

    @Samus Do you mean this $299 Wifi 6E access point by unifi? Fraction of the price is actually probably gonna be more expensive at this point than alternatives.
  • Einy0 - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    I've been burned too many times over the years by Netgear's lax firmware policies. Buggy, with massive security holes and zero patches for anything after the first year. Yeah, hell to the no!
  • GreenThumb - Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - link

    @Einy0, me too. Who would you buy from if buying today?
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - link

    The M4300 switch is an example I show other hardware manufactures where the future of AV is going: the 2U model has modules that add HDMI input and outputs directly to the switch. That is some tight integration. Other companies like Riedel offer SFP28 modules with SDI input or SDI output ports for SMPTE network conversion. The future is simple: AV switching is your network switching.

    The M4250 series of switches support AVB/TSN for deterministic Ethernet. (Oddly the M4300 doesn't support AVB/TSN.) The M4250 also has profile for various audio over IP protocols like Dante, Q-sys, AES67 along with the previously mentioned AVB. This is going to be a huge feature for when WiFi 7 arrives and brings those clocking features to the wireless realm.

    Which brings me to the big problem about this article and these new access points: they're not WiFi 7 and thus don't support the TSN feature set as part of it. The management features are indeed nice and will mesh well with the management of the M4250 and M4300 switches, but you shouldn't depend on wireless for realtime/live ProAV.

    I'd also question SDVoE as dominant in the AV-over-IP field. I can name a dozen different 'standards' for this same basic idea and many of this are built upon the same codecs and even the same hardware. However every vendor is trying to do their own thing right now by locking in users behind proprietary discovery and encryption protocols to ensure that they're not interoperable. SDVoE is a bit different as it is backed by a consortium of smaller pro AV players that simply lack the clout to pull off the vendor lock-in that the other vendors are doing. It is a good idea but doesn't have the traction that other protocols have had.

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