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EnGenius Long Range Wireless Access Point review

Karl Wright
30 Jan 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
79
inc VAT

Boost your WiFi indoors and out. A niche product, but good and reasonably priced if you need to extend a WiFi network.

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Specifications

The EnGenius Long Range Wireless Access Point is a waterproof product that can be setup outside to provide WiFi access over a large area.

As well as being weatherproof, it transmits a stronger signal than normal WiFi access points and has greater receive sensitivity. The latter is useful if you're making a network available to other users, for example around an office building or a beer garden, and want to cover a large area with multiple access points. The more sensitive a device is, the better it can pick up and re-amplify the signal from the nearest neighbouring access points. With more sensitive access points, you can buy relatively few and still get a good signal over a wide area.

If you only need one access point, perhaps to extend your home WiFi network across a large garden, the high-power signal is what will interest you. To test it, we plugged the EnGenius into our network and took our laptop for a walk out on the street, three floors down. Normally we wouldn't have got any signal at that distance. Using the EnGenius, we surfed the web, checked our email and got a sustained data transfer rate of around 2Mbit/sec - pretty good, when you consider that the access point was transmitting through several solid stone walls and across a fair distance.

The EnGenius is easy to set up: plug it in and open the presentation page using your PC's web browser, just like any other network device. It can act as a DHCP host, automatically assigning IP addresses to other devices that want to connect, or you can confgure it to accept an IP address from another DHCP server. The usual security options - WEP, WPA and MAC address filtering - are provided and worked fine in our tests. To make the product easier to use outdoors, it receives electrical power over its Ethernet network connection rather than needing a mains plug; this works over cables up to 300 metres in length.

This isn't a product for everyone, and is best suited to businesses that want to provide WiFi for customers and staff, but it's very good at what it does and not expensive.

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