Totolink A2004NS AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
|At a glance|
|Product||Totolink AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (A2004NS) [Website]|
|Summary||AC1200 class router with Gigabit Ethernet ports, USB 2.0 storage sharing and PPTP VPN server|
|Pros||• Supports universal bridge and wireless WAN|
• PPTP VPN server
• Traffic statistics for each port
|Cons||• USB 2.0, not 3.0|
• No HTTPS admin
• No media server for USB
• Poor storage sharing throughput
• Not Wi-Fi Certified
Typical Price: $40 Buy From Amazon
The Totolink A2004NS is one of the more unique looking routers I've encountered. The A2004NS has four 4 dBi antennas sprouting out of the top of the case - 2 each for the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. The 2.4 GHz antennas are located towards the front of the case on the right and left, and the 5 GHz antennas are mounted immediately behind them.
The white case has a flat finish and the sides and top have numerous slots for ventilation. The bottom of the case is black and also has slots for ventilation and screw slots for mounting the device to a wall as well as four pre-installed rubber feet. The top of the case also has 10 blue LED indicators located towards the left rear. Looking directly at the front panel, the LEDs are obscured by the antennas. The front of the case has only the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) pushbutton.
The callouts below show the LED description on the top panel and the rear panel layout. Note that the A2004NS does not have either a power switch or a Wi-Fi disable switch.
Totolink A2004NS top panel LEDs
Totolink A2004NS rear panelThe WAN port is yellow, and the four LAN ports are orange. The ports are identified with numbers of dots that correspond to the same dot pattern for the LED indicators on the top panel. There are no link/activity/link speed indicators on the Ethernet ports.
The A2004NS is another Realtek-based router. We couldn't identify the memory or the 5 GHz power amplifiers. Other identified components are summarized in the table. If you compare the Totolink to the Netis, you'll see the key components are the same.
|2.4 GHz Radio||Realtek RTL8192CE|
|5 GHz radio||- Realtek RTL8812AR
- Unidentified 5 GHz power amp (x2)
Totolink A2004NS component summary
The image below was taken from the FCC certification documents. As with all FCC ID photos, it's fairly low resolution. The LED indicators are located on the top left of the board. The 5 GHz radio (with amplifiers) has the black antenna leads; the 2.4 GHz radio (sans amplifiers) at the bottom center of the photo has the grey.
Totolink A2004NS PCB
There's not much involved in setting up the Totolink A2004NS. If your ISP provides you with an IP address, you can just connect your modem to the WAN ports and boot up the router. The A2004NS defaults to 192.168.1.1. Both the 2.4 GHz network (TOTOLINK A2004NS 2.4G) and the 5 GHz network (TOTOLINK A2004NS 5G) are enabled by default with no wireless security, so you can easily configure the router either using a wired or wireless connection. When you point your browser to the default IP, you land at this page:
Totolink A2004NS Landing Page
From here, you can run the Internet Wizard (not necessary if you connected automatically) or the Wireless Wizard to set up your wireless network with different SSIDs, if desired and security. Unfortunately, this page appears every time you log into the router. To manage the router, you click on the Setup Tool icon.
Note: I connected the Totolink router to a LAN port on my network for testing, which also defaults to 192.168.1.1. Before connecting it to my network, I changed the LAN setting for the router to 192.168.2.1. At the bottom of the screen above, the DHCP - Conneted (sic) refers to the WAN IP address.
When you click on the Setup Tool, you land at the page shown below. This is what I consider to be the "real" landing page. The user interface has a clean, well-organized layout that separates the Basic Setup features from the Advanced Setup features. For many users, the Basic Setup menu is all you'll ever need to use with the exception of resetting the Admin password. By default, the user name/password is admin / admin. The setup doesn't force you to change the admin password, so you'll want to do that under Advanced Setup -> System->Admin Setup.
Totolink A2004NS Setup Tool Landing Page
The Status summary shows that the Internet is connected, the DHCP server is running using the full address range of the 192.168.2.0/24 network. Both wireless networks are running in AP mode with encryption, and remote management has been enabled on port 8080.
The A2004NS has a full set of features that you'd expect to find on a high-end router plus a few that you might not expect. These features are all configurable from the menus under Advanced Setup. In the screenshot below, I've expanded the Advanced setup so that you can see the submenus.
Each submenu can be expanded to reveal more configuration options. This screenshot also reveals several unique features for the DHCP server. Like many routers, the A2004NS supports DHCP reservation, AKA DHCP Static Lease. What is unique is that you have the option of blocking a MAC address on the list with a wrong IP address, or blocking a MAC address not on the list. Another unique feature is the ability to allow Internet access only for hosts that have been provided an IP address by the DHCP server.
Totolink A2004NS Advanced Setup showing LAN/DHCP Server settings
There are other interesting features that I'll highlight below. For each feature mentioned, I'll include a screenshot in the gallery at the end of this section.
Wireless Networks - Multiple SSID
Each band can have two additional wireless networks per band, AKA guest networks. For each additional network, you can specify the level of security, a separate encryption key, enable/disable SSID Broadcast, use Enterprise authentication (802.1x) and allow full access or Internet only access.
Wireless Networks - Multibridge
The A2004NS can be used in two different bridge modes. Wireless bridge mode will connect to any wireless network and connect Ethernet devices plugged into the router's LAN ports. Wireless WAN mode uses another Wi-Fi network as the WAN connection instead of the Ethernet WAN port. In this mode, the router creates a separate network with its own IP address range and DHCP server.
In the Wireless Bridge mode, the router is used as an AP, so IP addresses will come from the DHCP server on the wireless host's network. The Wireless WAN mode is the same as Bridge mode except the DHCP server isn't stopped and will pass out IP addresses. In the Wireless WAN mode, the wired WAN port is disabled.
NAT/Routing - Port Forwarding & Port triggering
The A2004NS supports port range forwarding and has 13 pre-defined services. You can have up to 60 forward rules. Port triggering is also supported, but there are no predefined rules, and the maximum number of port triggering rules is 10.
Firewall - Mgmt Access List
The A2004NS has good control of management access including limiting access to up to 10 remote IP addresses or 10 IP addresses on the LAN. You can specify the remote management port, but unfortunately, there's no support for HTTPS secure management.
Utility - VPN Setup
You can use the A2004NS as a VPN server. However, it supports only PPTP and the maximum number of users is 5. For each user, you can assign an IP address on your LAN.
Traffic - QoS Setup
QoS is accomplished by bandwidth control. You can ether guarantee a minimum amount of bandwidth to an IP address or range of IP addresses, or set a maximum bandwidth for a single IP address or range. Unlike some of the other routers reviewed in Part 1, there aren't different priority queues for different types of traffic.
Traffic - Connection Control
This is a unique feature that I haven't seen on other routers and is recommended only for advanced users. This menu lets you configure the maximum number of TCP/IP connections, maximum UDP connections, maximum IMP connections and maximum connection rate. These values are per connected host. This menu also lets you set TCP, UDP, ICMP and generic connection timeouts.
Traffic - Wired Port Setup
This menu provides wired port information with link status, link speed and duplex. Wired ports can be configured to Auto or Manual and the link speed and duplex settings can be changed for the WAN port and LAN ports 1-3. Port 4 is configured for Auto only. In addition, Rx and Tx statistics are provided for all wired ports.
System - Misc Setup
This is a collection of miscellaneous setup items that don't fit neatly into other sub menus under the top level menu. In this menu, in addition to other settings, you can enable/disable UPnP. The A2004NS, like an increasing number of routers, provides a UPnP port forwarding list of ports opened by UPnP clients. This is a feature that I always look for in a router.
When you insert a USB storage device, it is automatically recognized. However, it's not immediately available on your network. You have to individually enable you choice of FTP Service, Windows File Sharing (SAMBA) or URL service. For FTP and Windows File Sharing, you can have up to five users. Users must be created for each service - there isn't a device-wide user list.
Each service can have up to 5 users, but there must be at least one user to start the service. With one user required for each of these services, you don't have "public" access for storage mounted on the A2004NS. Access for each user can be Read/Write/Read of Off. For the URL service, there's a single user ID and a you can set your own port. The default port is 8000.