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Wireless Reviews

In Use

EnGenius targets the ENH500 as a point-to-point wireless device. In a point-to-point deployment, a pair of ENH500s could be used to connect two networks instead of pulling cable. According to EnGenius, two ENH500s in WDS Bridge mode can provide a point-to-point connection beyond 1000'.

A picture says a thousand words, and EnGenius provides three images depicting applications for the ENH500, shown below. In all three of these images, a pair of ENH500s are providing network connectivity from a main network to a remote network or network device.

Building to Buildling

Building to Building

Building to IP Camera

Building to IP Camera

Building to IP Sign

Building to IP Sign

EnGenius' support site recommends WDS mode (wireless distribution system) for point-to-point connections with the ENH500. The three WDS modes are WDS Access Point, WDS Bridge and WDS Station. The EnGenius recommended WDS mode for point-to-point connections on the ENH500 is WDS Bridge mode.

WDS Bridge mode is easy to set up. Select Operation Mode = WDS Bridge and enter on each ENH500 the other ENH500's MAC address. Select a security method of WEP or AES (this sets WPA2/AES) and enter a common string (WEP key or AES passphrase) on both devices.

The main wireless options for WDS Bridge are wireless mode (802.11a/n mixed, 802.11n only, or 802.11a only), channel bandwidth (20 or 40 MHz) and channel. Channel options on the ENH500 are 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, 149, 153, 157, 161, and 165. Note that some mid-band DFS channels are supported, which are restricted to lower transmit power levels. For best range, use channels 149-165 where allowed transmit power is highest.


I had no problem creating a point-to-point connection between two ENH500s with WDS Bridge mode. To test throughput over a wireless point-to-point connection, I put each ENH500 on an 8' high free standing post as shown below. I connected a Windows laptop to each ENH500 and ran tests with the ENH500s at distances of 20m, 100m, and 150m.

Test Setup

Test Setup

I used TotuSoft's LAN Speed Test client and server application to measure throughput between two ENH500s. I set the file size for throughput measurement to 100 MB. Below is the output from one of my tests.

Throughput Test

Throughput Test

Note, I measured throughput on the ENS200s last year using iperf as my throughput tool. I changed to the Totusoft tool while back as it is a more reliable tool than iperf and allows for changing the amount of data sent for each test.

The ENH500 only uses the 5 GHz band, which is less crowded than 2.4 GHz. Another value of the 5GHz frequency is the ability to safely use 40 MHz channel bandwidth for higher throughput. For my tests, I set the wireless channel on both ENH500s to 153 per SNB's wireless test procedure.

At each distance, I measured baseline throughput with no security and channel mode set to 40 MHz. Table 1 shows the results.

Distance (m) Write Throughput (Mbps) Read Throughput (Mbps)
20 88 89
100 88 90
150 88 89
Table 1: Throughput test results - 40 MHz b/w, no security

I then measured throughput with AES (WPA2/AES) security enabled and channel mode set to 20 MHz. Table 2 summarizes the results.

Distance (m) Write Throughput (Mbps) Read Throughput (Mbps)
20 68 72
100 75 76
150 70 75
Table 2: Throughput test results - 20 MHz b/w, WPA2/AES

Finally, I measured throughput with AES security enabled and channel mode set to 40 MHz, which is the most likely production configuration. Table 3 shows results similar to Table 1.

Distance (m) Write Throughput (Mbps) Read Throughput (Mbps)
20 88 88
100 86 87
150 87 89
Table 3: Throughput test results - 40 MHz b/w, WPA2/AES

My results with the ENS200 last year showed throughput from 11-27 Mbps with a decline in throughput as distance increased. As you can see in the tables above, throughput on the ENH500 ranges from 68-90 Mbps and remains unchanged from 20m to 150m.

Our lab tests, using our test bed and wireless test procedure provide a more complete view of throughput vs. signal level performance. Note, the ENH500 was not rotated in the test chamber, due to its directional antenna. It was tested in access point mode, so is found in the Wireless Charts.

Chamber Test

Chamber Test

For both up and downlink, you see throughput flatlined at 100 Mbps for about half the tested attenuation range.



This is a pretty good sign the 100 Mbps Ethernet connection could limit throughput at shorter distances (high signal levels). The 80-90 Mbps open air results, however, show this shouldn't be a concern in most uses.



It's rare that products make it all the way out to 45 dB attenuation in the larger new test chamber. This shows the higher gain of the ENH500's antennas plus its higher transmit power make a real difference in effective range.

Closing Thoughts

The ENH500 is a slick solution for point-to-point wireless connectivity. It uses the 5 GHz band so it won't affect or be affected by surrounding 2.4 GHz networks. According to EnGenius, two ENH500 in WDS Bridge mode can extend a point-to-point network beyond 1000 ft.

Running an Ethernet cable 150m or more can cost thousands of dollars if that cable has to be buried. It may not even be an option to run cable between two points if you don't have permission or capability to bury cable. At less than $200 with a 1 year warranty, the ENH500 is a quick and highly functional solution for extending your network where wires can't go.

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