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Wireless Reviews


The ENS200 can be managed via Telnet command line or via a web GUI.  SSH is not supported.  The command line interface (CLI) accessible via Telnet is relatively easy to navigate.  Entering help at the prompt provides a useful list of available commands. 

ENS200 command line

ENS200 command line

Based on the CLI displays, the ENS200 is obviously Linux based.  The CLI menus look like Linux directories and the CPU info display on the ENS200 CLI looks very much like the Linux top command.

The web GUI is your point-and-click interface for configuring the ENS200.  The menu structure of the ENS200 is simple, with configuration options available vertically along the left side of the GUI as shown in the screenshot below. (Note that I have cut-and-pasted the menus into a more compact two-column form. The actual menus themselves are single column.)

ENS200 web GUI menu

ENS200 web GUI menu

I've also listed the menu options in the table below.

ENS200 menu tree

ENS200 menu tree

The menus are relatively intuitive to navigate, but configuration changes can be slow.  Changing operation modes takes about 60-90 seconds for the new mode to be applied.  All other changes require clicking save/reload, which also takes about 60-90 seconds.  A progress bar, shown below, is displayed while the device is applying changes.

Waiting for saves

Waiting for saves

There is an 82 page manual for the ENS200.  It provides a few sentences about each configuration option, but little else.  There are also six operation modes (discussed next) in the ENS200, but only four modes are covered in the manual.  Since the operation modes are key to the operation of the device, it would be useful to provide more detail on the intended application for all six modes. Configuration examples would be very helpful, too.

Operation Modes

To understand the EnGenius ENS200, it is helpful to review its multiple operation modes and their intended uses. The ENS200 operation modes include three WDS (Wireless Distribution System) modes plus three non-WDS modes, shown below.

ENS200 Operation Modes

ENS200 Operation Modes

The three WDS modes are WDS Access Point, WDS Bridge and WDS Station modes. The three non-WDS modes are Access Point, Client Bridge and Client Router modes. According to the engineers at EnGenius, the ENS200 is designed for optimal functionality with the WDS modes or Client Bridge mode.

WDS Access Point mode is unique as it can be used to set up both WDS links to ENS200s in WDS Bridge or Station mode, as well as connect to client devices such as PCs. As you can see in the menu below, WDS Access mode provides all available configuration options for both WDS Link Settings as well as standard Wireless Network settings.

ENS200 WDS Access Point mode menu

ENS200 WDS Access Point mode menu

WDS Bridge mode is proprietary to the Atheros chipset, meaning that the ENS200 will only connect to other devices utilizing Atheros chipsets that support this mode. The reason this is "proprietary" is that the WDS specification doesn't include encryption support. So manufacturers have had to implement their own approaches.

EnGenius' WDS Bridge mode connection is secured via MAC address and optional WEP or WPA2-AES encryption. This mode is useful for setting up secure point-to-point wireless connections between ENS200s.

In WDS Station mode, the ENS200 can connect to another ENS200 in WDS Access Point mode using standard wireless security options including WEP, WPA, and WPA-2. EnGenius recommends using WDS Access Point to WDS Station mode for optimal point-to-point throughput, which I'll cover later.

In standard Access Point mode, the ENS200 functions as a traditional wireless Access Point. However, it is important to remember the ENS200 has a directional antenna. Thus, the ENS200 doesn't create a 360 degree wireless coverage area. Rather, it creates a horizontal and vertical 60 degree coverage area.

Client Bridge mode is one of the key target uses for the ENS200. In this mode, the ENS200 can be used as CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) to connect to an 802.11 wireless signal, such as one provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or a WiFi hotspot. In Client Bridge mode, the ENS200 can pick up a wireless signal from a long distance and deliver a wired Ethernet connection to a home or business network. No WDS is involved.

Finally, Client Router mode is very similar to Client Bridge mode with one difference. In Client Router mode, the ENS200 will connect to a wireless signal, perform network address translation (NAT) and act as a gateway router for devices connected to its wired LAN interface. However, EnGenius notes that the ENS200's router features are limited. Router options are available to configure only while in Client Router mode. I circled the available router configuration options in the screenshot below.

ENS200 Client Router settings

ENS200 Client Router settings

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