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Wireless Reviews

High-Powered, Long Range 5 GHz Wireless N300 Outdoor Client Bridge
At a glance
ProductEnGenius High-Powered, Long Range 5 GHz Wireless N300 Outdoor Client Bridge (ENH500)   [Website]
SummaryN300 5 GHz only outdoor AP / bridge with built-in 13dBi panel antenna in IP55 waterproof enclosure
Pros• Easy to configure
• Inexpensive
• Supports multiple modes
Cons• Non-standard PoE
• Limited low-end operating temperature range
• LEDs on the rear
• Slow admin response

Typical Price: $79  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

EnGenius is known for its broad line of relatively inexpensive outdoor wireless bridges. I previously looked at the 2.4 GHz only, N300 class EnGenius ENS200 in January 2013. In this review, I'm going to cover its 5 GHz only sibling, the EnGenius ENH500.

Physically, the ENH500 is housed in a gray plastic IP55 waterproof housing measuring 3.31" W x 10.24" H x 2.17" D. There are screw holes on the back for mounting the device and a mast-mount strap is included for pole mounting. The front of the device is shown below.

Front

Front

The images below show the rear and bottom of the ENH500. Notice that the signal indicator LEDs on the rear of the device are not visible once it is mounted, so they're of questionable use. The bottom image shows the two 10/100 Ethernet ports.

It is interesting to note that the EnGenius advertises the ENH500 with a max data rate of 300 Mbps, but with only 10/100 Ethernet connections, you're going to be limited to 100 Mbps for any connection that goes from the wireless network to the wired network. We'll see in the Performance section that the 10/100 port does in fact limit maximum throughput.

Rear

Rear

As with the ENS200, the ENH500 is powered by a proprietary Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter, which is included. According to the ENH500 manual, "The ENH500 uses a proprietary PoE injector and will not work with standard 802.3af-compliant PoE switches." The ENH500 specs say it draws 9 W, which is easily within most PoE switches' per port PoE capability, so it seems odd EnGenius has designed these devices to work only its proprietary PoE adapter. This is probably to save cost.

Ethernet Ports

Ethernet Ports

Also like the ENS200, the ENH500 has an operating temperature range low of only -4ºF. So be advised if deploying this device in a climate where sub-zero temperatures are possible during winter months.

Inside

Inside the case is the antenna, shown in the first image...

Antenna Panel

Antenna Panel

...and the main board.

Main Board

Main Board

Located on the main board of the ENH500, shown in more detail below, is an an Atheros AR9280 single-chip 2x2 MIMO 5.0 GHz radio, as well as an Atheros AR7240 wireless network processor with a 400 MHz CPU, 32 MB of RAM, and 8 MB of flash. The AR7240 is the same chip used on the ENS200.

Main Board Detail

Main Board Detail

Features

The feature list below is compiled from EnGenius' ENH500 data sheet and specifications.

  • 5.0 GHz 802.11a/n
  • Wireless N300 Speed = max data rate of 300 Mbps
  • Internal High-Gain 13 dBi Directional Antenna
  • 600mW high power long range coverage / up to 1 mile
  • IP55 Waterproof Housing for Harsh Outdoor Environments
  • PoE and Mounting Kits Included (Peak power = 9W)
  • Two Fast Ethernet Ports (10/100Mbps)
  • Wi-Fi security: 64/128/256-bit WEP encryption, WPA/WPA2 Personal (WPA-PSK using TKIP or AES), WPA/WPA2 Enterprise encryption (WPA-EAP using TKIP), 802.1x authentication, hidden SSID and MAC address filtering
  • Operations Modes: Access Point, Client Bridge, Client Router and WDS. [WDS modes = Access Point, Bridge, and Station]
  • Can broadcast up to 4 SSIDs, each on a unique VLAN
  • QoS: WMM (Wireless Multimedia)
  • Spanning Tree Protocol supported
  • SNMP V1, V2c
  • EZ Controller (free software for centrally managing multiple APs)
  • Operating Temperature Range = -4°F~158°F

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