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Wireless Reviews

Long-Range Wireless 802.11n 2.4GHz Outdoor Bridge/AP
At a glance
ProductEnGenius ENS200 Long-Range Wireless 802.11n 2.4GHz Outdoor Bridge/AP   [Website]
SummaryInexpensive N150 outdoor AP/bridge with internal antenna in IP65 waterproof case
Pros• Easy to configure
• Supports WPA2/AES encrypted bridge
• Way less than $100
• AP, WDS bridge, client bridge modes
Cons• Limited low-end operating temp range
• Unhelpful LED location
• No signal strength tools to help WDS link setup
• Slooowww admin web GUI response
• Manual missing some operation modes

Typical Price: $163  Shop Amazon

Introduction

When the discussion in the SNB Forums turns to alternatives for outdoor wireless links, EnGenius' products usually are mentioned. Whether it's a relatively short hop between a home and detached worshop, or linking multiple buildings farther apart, EnGenius seems to get the nod.

But after many years of pointing to other people's recommendations, we figured it was high time we found out for ourselves whether we really should be recommending EnGenius outdoor bridges.

In this review, I'm going to take a look at EnGenius' relatively-new entry-level 2.4 GHz N150 outdoor bridge, the ENS200. The ENS200 is designed to allow consumers to easily connect building networks without running cables or to connect to a wireless ISP or hotspot over long distances. 

The ENS200 is the entry-level model in EnGenius' line of AP/bridge and antenna combos housed in waterproof plastic casings. It is closely related to three other 2.4 GHz N150 bridge products, summarized in Table 1.

  ENS200 ENH200 ENH200EXT ENH202
Radio Atheros AR9285
2.4 GHz N150
Atheros AR9285
2.4 GHz N150
Atheros AR9285
2.4 GHz N150
Atheros AR9283
2.4 GHz N300
Antenna Internal 8 dBi
- Horiz beam width: 60°
- Vertical beam width: 60°
Internal 10 dBi
- Horiz beam width: 37°
- Vertical beam width: 73°
None. External via RP-SMA connector Internal 10 dBi
- Horiz beam width: 70°
- Vertical beam width: 21°
Max. TX Power 400 mW 500 mW 500 mW 800 mW
Table 1: EnGenius 2.4 GHz outdoor bridges

The ENS200 is housed in a gray plastic IP65 waterproof enclosure measuring 3.9”W x 7.3”H x 1.1”D. The case has both screw slots for wall mounting and a curved feature for pole mounting. The figure below shows the ENS200's LEDs and dual 10/100 Ethernet connectors. The LED location is rather odd, since none of them would be visible when the device is mounted. So they would be of little use for setup or diagnostic purposes.

EnGenius ENS200 rear and bottom panel callouts

EnGenius ENS200 rear and bottom panel callouts

The ENS200 is powered by a proprietary power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connection, using an included PoE injector and power wall-wart. I wonder why EnGenius opted for a proprietary PoE connection?  Although EnGenius gets points for providing the PoE injector, the device would be more flexible if it used standard 802.3af or at. That way, it could be powered with an off-the-shelf PoE injector or standard PoE-enabled switch.

In addition to the PoE injector and power supply, EnGenius includes two tie wraps for mounting the device to a pole, as well as a couple of screws for mounting to a flat surface.

Inside

Inside the case is a single main board.  The antenna is the flat metal panel, shown to the left of the main board in the photo below.

ENS200 antenna and board

ENS200 antenna and board

Located on the main board of the ENS200 is an Atheros AR9285 2.4 GHz N150 single-chip radio, an Atheros AR7240 wireless network processor with a 400 MHz CPU, 32 MB of RAM, and 8 MB of flash.

The ENS200 has two 10/100 Ethernet ports.  One of the ports, labeled PoE, must be connected to the Ethernet cable coming from the provided PoE injector to power the device.  That same port can be used for the LAN connection, or you can run a separate cable to the other 10/100 port.

I've put a few other pictures of the ENS200's insides in the gallery below.

Features

I put together this feature summary based on EnGenius' ENS200 specifications.

  • 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n
  • Data rate up to 150 Mbps
  • Built-in directional antenna (60 degree horizontal and vertical), 8dBi gain
  • Operation Modes = Access Point /Client Bridge / Client Router / WDS Bridge / WDS Station/ WDS Access Point
  • Wireless WiFi Scheduling
  • Four SSIDs with VLAN assignment
  • Signal Strength Display
  • RSSI Indicator
  • BSSID/Preferred SSID
  • Security
  • WEP Encryption-64/128/152 bit
  • WPA/WPA2 Personal (WPA-PSK using TKIP or AES) for CR/CB mode only
  • WPA/WPA2 Enterprise (WPA-EAP using TKIP) for CR/CB mode only
  • QoS WMM, Traffic Shaping
  • MIB I, MIB II and Private MIB
  • SNMP V1 , V2C, V3
  • IP65 waterproof housing and UV coating for prolonged exposure to sunlight
  • PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) kit includes PoE injector and power adapter
  • Operating Temperature Range = -4°F~158°F
  • Warranty: 1 year

Note the operating temperature range with a low of -4°F.  As I write this, the overnight low for Madison, WI is -7°F.  I wonder how the ENS200 will perform in the northern climates during periods of cold weather?

More Wireless

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