The Simplicity of Datto Networking: It Just Works

March 03, 2017

The Simplicity of Datto Networking: It Just Works

By Scott West

You can read about something, even write about it, and start to form some opinions, but until you actually get first-hand experience with something, your opinions are just that...opinions. You think you know, but you really don’t. That was my experience last week at the ASCII IT SMB Success Summit in Houston, TX.

For the past three months, I have been learning and writing about Datto Networking. As a Senior Product Marketing Manager here at Datto, I needed to understand the products, learn why customers would want to buy them, and figure out how to communicate what I learned. I had a lot of help along the way, and I was starting to feel really good about my level of knowledge. I got it. Or at least I thought I did.

However, until my trip to Houston, I didn’t truly appreciate one of Datto Networking’s key value propositions, namely that Datto Networking is simpler networking.

Now don’t get me wrong. I had conducted several interviews with people who had plenty of experience working with the Open Mesh line of switches and WiFi access points. I was confident in stating that these products are really easy to configure. And my own hands-on experience with the Datto Networking Appliance proved that it is simple to use as well.

But until last week, I had a safety net. I had a stable Internet connection, my office WiFi available as a backup, and a team of experts there if I needed them.

So there I was, sitting alone in my hotel room at the Houston Marriott Westchase, with a bunch of brand new Datto Networking products. These products had never been installed or configured, and to make matters even more challenging, my hotel room didn’t have a hardwired Internet connection to connect to my new network. That meant I was going to have to configure the network with no primary Internet.

I knew the Datto Networking Appliance included built-in 4G LTE failover from Verizon Wireless. But I wasn’t sure how this was going to work since Datto Networking products must be configured and managed in the cloud. But I had no choice, so I got to work.

First, I unboxed everything. And right away I was impressed. The Datto and Open Mesh packaging were really well done. And all of the documentation was there if I actually wanted to read it.

Next, I screwed in the antennas that came with the Datto Networking Appliance. They were clearly marked, and very easy to install.

Then I started to plug in the Cat 6 cables. I connected each of the 3 switches to its own LAN port on the back of the Datto Networking Appliance. Then I connected one Cat 6 cable to Port 1 on the 8 port switch and connected the other end of the cable to the AP60 WiFi access point.

I logged into the Datto Partner Portal, accessed the Datto Networking Status page and clicked on “Add New AP or Switch”. From that point, it was a matter of a few clicks, adding the device’s MAC address, and everything was configured.

And here’s the really cool part. Once I set up the access point, it started to broadcast. I didn’t have a primary Internet connection “feeding” the AP, but it was still broadcasting. That’s because the 4G LTE was all the Internet it needed.

I set up an SSID on the AP (again, a couple of clicks), connected my cell phone to that SSID, and downloaded a Youtube video. It was not only working, but it was fast.

So, what was once an opinion based in fact was now my reality. Datto Networking is truly simpler networking. I had just experienced it. From that point on, when I told this story to those attending the conference, my line was “If I can set this up, anyone can.” And it was true.

Datto Networking is simple, easy to set up networking. It just works.

Now I get it.

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