|At a glance|
|Product||EnGenius 802.11 N Multi-Function Access Point (EAP-300) [Website]|
|Summary||Ceiling-mount 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n AP/Bridge/Repeater based on Realtek silicon.|
|Pros||• Four SSIDs|
• Supports WDS bridging/repeating
|Cons||• Disappointing wireless performance|
• WPS does not work
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EnGenius has tried to differentiate itself from the wireless product pack by generally focusing on "long-range" products, typically with higher transmit power. In the case of the EAP-300, however, it looks like EnGenius has failed in this mission.
The product is aimed at businesses who like their access points ceiling-mounted and inobtrusive. So the EAP-300 looks and mounts like a smoke detector. It can be powered by a 12v wall-wart (included) or more typically for a real business installation, by 802.3af Power over Ethernet.
The top of the device has three bright blue indicators for power, Ethernet link/activity and Wireless link/activity. These can each be disabled in the admin interface. There is also a recessed button with a little wrench icon, whose function is not explained anywhere that I could find in the documentation. But I'd assume that it at least reboots the AP and possibly resets it to factory default with a longer press.
The bottom of the device shown in Figure 1 has recessed ports for power and 10/100 Ethernet. There is a gap in the case at the top of the picture for cables to exit without making a bump in the flat mounting plane.
Figure 1: EAP-300 bottom view
The FCC ID photos are a bit fuzzy. But EnGenius isn't shy about providing design details in its data sheet.
Figure 2: EAP-300 inside
Table 1 summarizes the key components, which show a design based on Realtek components. I don't run across Realtek very often in wireless products and certainly not in those advertised as high performance. So I'm surprised at EnGenius' selection.
|CPU||Realtek RTL8196C Wireless SoC|
|2.4 GHz Radio||Realtek RTL8192CE|
Table 1:Component summary
Figure 3 shows an unobstructed view of the board where you can see the Realtek logos on the processor and radio devices.
Figure 3: EAP-300 board
The EAP-300 has a decent set of features, including some that will be of interest to business users. Here's a summary:
- AP/WDS Bridge/WDS Repeater modes
- Four SSIDs
- Auto-channel setting
- SSID / VLAN tagging
- Traffic separation by SSID or between clients
- Adjustable Transmit power (11 dBm - 29 dBm)
- Wireless enable/disable scheduling
- WiFi Protected Setup
- WEP, WPA/WPA2 Personal and Enterprise security
- MAC address filtering
- 802.1d Spanning Tree support
- 802.3af Power over Ethernet or 12V power
- Dual 5 dBi internal omnidirectional antennas
- Traffic graphs
- HTTP/HTTPs/Telnet/SNMP admin
Figure 4 is a shot of the web admin interface so you can get an idea of the approach. If you've used an EnGenius router, the look and feel will be familiar; functional, but unpolished.
Figure 4: EAP-300 Wireless settings
Both HTTP and HTTPs connections are supported to the web admin interface. But if you just hit the AP's IP address, you don't get auto-forwarded to the secure interface; you need to specify https://.
As I said, some of the EAP-300's features will be interesting to business users. But admins used to Cisco or other Enterprise-class APs may be disappointed. Some reasons why:
- You can't set maximum transmit link rate
- MAC address filtering is deny only and you don't get a pick list to help build the list
- No rogue AP or other wireless activity monitoring
- Telnet access to a command line interface (CLI) is enabled by default and can't be disabled
- No ability to disable HTTP admin or control remote access
- There are traffic graphs and activity logs, but they can't be saved or emailed
Check the gallery for screenshots of key admin pages and further commentary.