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Wireless Reviews

802.11 N Multi-Function Access Point
At a glance
ProductEnGenius 802.11 N Multi-Function Access Point (EAP-300)   [Website]
SummaryCeiling-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

Typical Price: $50  Buy From Amazon

Overview

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.

EAP-300 bottom view
Figure 1: EAP-300 bottom view

Inside

The FCC ID photos are a bit fuzzy. But EnGenius isn't shy about providing design details in its data sheet.

EAP-300 inside

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.

  EAP-300
CPU Realtek RTL8196C Wireless SoC
RAM 32 MB
Flash 4 MB
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.

EAP-300 board

Figure 3: EAP-300 board

Features

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.

EAP-300 Wireless settings

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.

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