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Wireless Reviews

NETGEAR WAC505

Insight Managed Smart Cloud Wireless Access Point
At a glance
ProductNETGEAR Insight Managed Smart Cloud Wireless Access Point (WAC505)   [Website]
SummaryAC1200 class dual-stream PoE-powered access point with MU-MIMO support
Pros• Supports AP load balancing and band steering
Cons• All settings not available via app
• Smartphone app is not suitable for managing multiple APs
• No MU-MIMO disable

Typical Price: $78  Buy From Amazon

The WAC505 is NETGEAR's entry-level access point in its Insight Cloud-managed small business product line. In addition to access points, the Insight app can also manage smart switches and most ReadyNAS NASes.

The WAC505 is a two-stream 802.11ac design based on Qualcomm's IPQ4019 SoC. So it most closely resembles D-Link's DAP-2610 that uses the IPQ4018. It can be wall or ceiling mounted with included hardware and powered with 802.3af PoE via its single gigabit Ethernet port or an AC adapter that must be ordered separately.

The board photo below shows the IPQ4019 and its RF power amplifiers / front-ends. The 2.4 GHz devices are from Qorvo and the 5 GHz are from RFMD (now owned by Qorvo). But the markings on the devices didn't match up to anything in the Qorvo catalog.

NETGEAR WAC505  board

NETGEAR WAC505 board

Other key components are shown in the table.

  NETGEAR WAC505
CPU Qualcomm IPQ4019
Ethernet In IPQ4019
RAM 1 GB
Flash 1 GB
2.4 GHz Radio - In IPQ4019
- Qorvo 3EXE61 2.4 GHz Power amp/Front end (x2)
5 GHz radio - In IPQ4019
- RFMD ZMW3 5 GHz Power amp/Front end (x2)
Firmware tested V3.1.0.12

The WAC505's management is a work in progress. The AP has many desirable features, including band steering, ability to limit the number of clients allowed to attach to each AP, RSSI-based client connection control and wireless backhaul via WDS. There's even the ability to filter URLs. But none of these features can be accessed via the Insight app. Instead, you need to set them via each AP's web GUI.

But each AP can be managed only via Insight or the web interface. According to the user manual:

When you change the management mode, the configuration of the access point is reset (cleared) with the exception of the IP address, access point name, and password for the local browser interface.

NETGEAR Insight app

NETGEAR Insight app

I experienced this first hand when switching to web management (standalone) mode to set a static IP in preparation for testing. When switching back to Insight mode, I switched mode first, which left the WAC505 with a static IP, which couldn't communicate with its cloud host. Long story short, I ended up resetting the AP to default so it get a proper IP and phone home.

I liked the web GUI a lot more than Insight. But as noted above, it's not a system console and manages only one AP at a time. Although the concept of managing a wireless LAN from your smartphone may be appealing, it's not really practical for managing multiple APs.

NETGEAR WAC505 Web GUI

NETGEAR WAC505 Web GUI

 

Features
Port TypeGigabit Ethernet
Ports1
PoE 802.3af
CPUQualcomm IPQ4018
SwitchQCA8072
RAM (MB)256
Flash (MB)?
Firmware1.01 09:46:24 03/28/2017
Captive Portal
Y
Cloud Mgmt
N
Web Mgmt
Y
S/W Controller Mgmt
Y
AP Controller
Y
VLAN
Y
Wireless Backhaul
Y
Client Bridge
Y
Mesh
N
NotesWireless backhaul uses WDS
Wireless
ClassAC1300
# of streams2
BandBoth
Band Steering
Y
AP Load Limiting
N
Roam AssistNone
Auto Tx Power
N
Auto Channel Mgmt
N
DFS
N
MU-MIMO
Y
Client Isolation
Y
Radio 12.4 GHz: in IPQ4018 + Skyworks SKY85303-11 2.4 GHz front end (x2)
Radio 25 GHz: in IPQ4018 + Skyworks SKY85717-21 5 GHz front end (x2)
FCC IDKA2AP2610A1
Antennainternal bent-metal dual-band dipole (x2)
Antenna Upgradeable
N
ConnectorN/A
RADIUS
Y
Schedule
Y
SSID #8
QoS
TypeBoth
DirectionBoth
Auto
N

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