CES 2018: Netgear's Brad Little talks Amazon, NBN and the state of mesh networking

Netgear were firing on all cylinders at this year's CES. The company announced new Arlo, Orbi and Nighthawk hardware and also buffered the software side of the equation by announcing partnerships with Bitdefender and Circle. We caught up with Netgear's Managing Director for ANZ Brad Little to chat about the developments in the company's choice categories - and where they could lead.

Mesh Wi-Fi is obviously a big growth segment at the moment. What do you think is the next step for these sorts of products? Where can they go next?

Brad: "There's still plenty of room, and still plenty of opportunity for the way Mesh is. The adoption on the first year has been fantastic. I think people who really like, not just the range, but the throughput and the capacity that Mesh provides. I think a lot of people that have taken the step and moved up to Mesh, they realized - especially in those households that have lots and lots of devices - and they're blown away at the difference in performance and the throughput they actually get."

"So, I think Mesh will continue to grow. In Australia right now it still only forms probably about 15-20% of the market. And I think on that high end, it will continue to step up. Consumers see the value in having good, strong, stable consistent Wi-Fi in their home. We add more and more devices every day, and if the Wi-Fi and the router is not up to it then they're missing out on all the cool stuff our devices do."

 And do you feel like the capabilities of these devices are still being a little bit let down by the NBN situation within Australia?

"In summary: potentially. Yeah, look not every house is going to get the same experience if they want to simultaneously stream Netflix and gaming, and they can do all of that stuff online. I think the infrastructure continues to improve and roll out."

"I think our devices work just as well with bad internet houses because they help optimize and provide a different experience, even if you've got a bad internet connection. So some people may be let down, but I think it continues to improve every day."

Lastly, how's Amazon. It finally arrived in Australia. How's that changed your approach? Has it changed your approach to the market?

"I think everyone was a little bit surprised. I don't want to talk on behalf of Amazon but, ultimately, I think they're learning a lot right now. I think what they expected and probably what rolled out was a little bit ... "

"People - the consumers - expected [one thing]. What rolled out was a little bit different. I don't want to talk for them, but I think our experience worldwide is that the more they [refine] their system and the more they mature, the more [the better they get]."

"I think what people got excited about were Australian consumers. They want the competition market, not just competition with retail, but they want access to more brands, they want access to better service, they want access to greater convenience."

"I think If Amazon is part of that catalyst, they may not always be the winner or the thing that ultimately is that more convenient but if it drives the market to service customers better, then awesome."

For the full run-down on everything that happened at this year's CES in Las Vegas, click here.

Disclosure - Our coverage of CES 2018 was sponsored by Intel, Belkin and Alcatel - who collectively covered the cost of our flights and accommodation.

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Fergus Halliday

Fergus Halliday

PC World
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