by September 6, 2005 0 comments



Allied TeleSyn AT-WA1004G

The AT-WA1004G is quite unlike its cousin featured in the Enterprise category and wins the shootout in the SOHO class. It is a broadband-wireless router and comes with a built-in
4-port switch. It also has a port for your WAN link. Like the WG-102 from Netgear, this one has a metallic body, but with no designated ground-point -so be a little careful with your wiring.

The router features a DHCP server and has 13 wireless channels for b/g mode operations. It can however run only as an
access point. When in pure b or g modes, it allows for data rate selection. WEP encryption comes in 64 and 128 bits, with WPA/WPA2 available if you need them. This AP features the most comprehensive LAN/WAN access filtering and content filtering mechanisms we saw among the entries. They provide you six
pre-configured content filters, client routing, DMZ creation and URL filters. If you want logs, it provides a port-wise access and scheduler, with its own logging. As expected, there is a good
firewall that can guard against DoS attacks and excessive bandwidth usage and block the
services if required. You also get seven pre-configured virtual servers with the ability to add more. With its top line performance, best features and aggressive pricing we saw no distress in
giving it the Editor’s Choice for this category. RQS# E25 or SMS 130925 to 9811800601

Quick Specs

Class: Broadband wireless router
Firewall: Yes, with logging
Channels: 13
Built-in switch: Yes
Other comments: Metallic with no ground point, LAN access filtering
Price: Rs 5,490
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-56764244, sgupta@alliedtelesyn.com
 

Why it won
  • Strong on security — client isolation, WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • Filters for allowing access to LAN, pre-configured content filters
  • Lots of preconfigured virtual servers
  • Competitive pricing

Belkin F5D7230-4

The two Belkin entries are almost identical in feature sets, but differ vastly in performance and pricing. This one for 
instance, differed enough from its sister to beat it by five places and snatch the Labs Highly Recommended. And guess what- the 7231 that got beaten is the HSM 125Mbps model! So, how did this happen?

Performance is the apt one word
answer. Configured to maximum performance, this AP beat its HSM sister in all three performance tests. The margin was close in TCP throughput to a few hundredths of Mbps. But, this was the only AP in the entire shootout that gave us a
1 Mbps UDP stream average. And, when it came to file transfer, the competition was almost blown away with times of 87s (-4s 7231) and 76s (-20s 7231) with the standard and its own high-performance CardBus adapters respectively.

Coming to specs, this Belkin (like its
sister) offers AP and bridge modes of operation. You can even restrict bridging to 
specific APs using their MAC addresses. Its virtual server database preincludes a huge 140 configurations and allows you to forward to them based on IP
address and ports. You can further log all of this. A DMZ can be created and you can block PINGs. The Parental Control featured in the Belkin router failed to impress us, because it is a subscribed service, with an additional price tag. RQS# E26 or SMS 130926 to 9811800601

Quick Specs

Class: Wireless WAN router
Firewall: Yes, with logging
Channels: 13
Built-in switch: Yes
Special: 54G mode only
Price: Rs 4,207
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-55905660, pushparaj.vasani@carrypaq.com 

Why it won
  • Low price
  • Top-line performance (2nd in category)
  • Good feature-set (2nd in category)

Linksys WAP-54G

This is a wireless access point that can function as a client (to another
WAP-54G, or the sister router WRT-54G), a repeater or a bridge. It has no switch
functionality and comes with just one Ethernet port. It features 13 channels,
with support for both b and g modes. For security, the WAP-54G can do WEP, WPA,
WPA2 and RADIUS.

When in client mode, the access point enables a ‘site survey’ tool which
can then be used to find out what APs are there, what their relative signal
strengths are and so on. However, if you’re connected to the AP using the web
browser remotely, you will be disconnected when you enable this mode.

This
Linksys AP allows you to filter access to it using MAC lists and you can enter
between 20 and 40 IDs at a time. Everything is logged and can be sent on to a
Syslog server if you run one. This is the only other AP other than the Cisco
BR1310 in the Enterprise category to feature antenna configuration from the
software — you can select which antenna to prefer for transmission but
doesn’t allow you to go any deeper. RQS# E27 or SMS 130927 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 4,100
Warranty: 3 years
Contact: 022-56434000, addoctor@cisco.com

Buffalo AirStation Broadband Router WBR2-G54

This is a broadband router and features two sets of LEDs: one set along the front-face and the other down one side. The two sets are identical and serve for maximum visibility of information. The AirStations from Buffalo feature something called AOSS for secure communication between the AP and the client. But for this, you need Buffalo’s own hardware at the other end as well. Under AOSS, the device will use still use one of WPA, WPA2 or WEP for security. WBR2-G54 features 11 channels with auto-selection. You can even separate different connecting clients from one another and decide who to allow using their MAC addresses.

WDS is a feature that allows routing between wireless devices and the WBR2-G54 supports it. You can even set it up as a dedicated WDS station. As a broadband router, it supports packet filtering, NAT and an IDS. The IDS can be configured to send out alert e-mails in case of detected attacks. There are about 26 different types of logs that can be generated and optionally sent to a Syslog server.

An interesting feature was almost all the APs we received featured the ability to select transmission power. But while it was usually selectable only in dbM units, this one AP allowed you to do that in percentages, making it quite human friendly. RQS# E28 or SMS 130928 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 4,500
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 011-30888825, buffalo@nexgennetworks.co.in

ASUS WL-300g

We had some problems with this AP. First, the Web interface for this was in Korean. We contacted ASUS and they suggested we update the firmware using the English version from their website. ASUS then suggested we use the software provided on the CD, which unfortunately allows updates only if a previous update had failed. We had to download another manual from the ASUS website (on their instructions) and follow the English menu shown there to update the firmware. Therefore, we strongly advise you to check your unit pre-purchase for its
language and get the vendor to update the firmware for you.

The AP has 14 channels (the highest in the shootout) and does both b and g. It can run as an AP, a WDS bridge or a hybrid of the two. You can isolate the AP and send all guest users to a fixed channel. It lacks anything except a basic logging that simply records system status. Security keys (WEP, WPA) can be rotated in a pre-configured interval. 

Performance was reasonably good. TCP throughput was among the top three at 22 Mbps. The AP managed to transfer our test 170 MB file-set in 84 seconds actually matching the Buffalo MIMO WZR-G108. Streaming performance was poor, with 0.89 Mbps average. Its price tag though is among the highest too. RQS# E29 or SMS 130929 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 5,288
Warranty: 2 years
Contact: 022-56490048, swapnali_joshi@asus.com.tw

Surecom EP-9600gp

It has quite a compact form-factor and does not feature a switch. It has 13
channels of b/g operation, with choice of boosting it with a super mode
statically or dynamically. It features RADIUS security for those who need it and
standard WEP/WPA for the rest. Upto five different modes are supported-AP, P2P
bridge, P2MP bridge, repeater and client. You can also access the AP via Telnet
for configuration. Its twin antennae are not omnidirectional and clients need to
be diagonally placed for optimal performance.

It features MAC-based filtering for keeping out unwanted users. There is no
logging of any kind, so you would have a spot of trouble solving any problems.
Performance-wise, it does reasonably well doing 20.4 Mbps in TCP throughput and
able to transfer our 170 MB file-set in 85 seconds.

While
this AP is nothing spectacular, its high pricing with rather Spartan features
makes it lose a lot of ground. We wish it had a lot more to offer-like some
level of logging, maybe the ability to create wireless VLANs and something in
the way of content filtering. It could have also done with the means to
configure its antenna for better placement and performance. RQS# E30 or SMS
130930 to 9811800601 

Price: Rs 5,200
Warranty:
1 year
Contact:
011-26227504, acemicro@bol.net.in

Belkin High-Speed Mode F5D7231-4

This was supposed to be the AP that beat everything since on the face of it,
it had everything-a 4-port switch, WAN and WLAN routing and a promise of the
HSM 125 Mbps bandwidth. We expected it to claim first prize. But it is here, in
a rather distant 7th of 10. This was largely because it was priced higher than
others, and wasn’t as impressive in performance as expected. 

There are 13 channels, with auto-selection and DRS, including the Turbo
modes. In the HSM mode, the AP will not do bridging and acts only as an AP.
Otherwise, you can bridge the unit with other APs (filtering them optionally
with their MACs) or mix them with clients.

Like
its sister, it has 140 virtual servers pre-configured and you can filter
Internet access by URL, port and time. Logs include access and firewall events.

Fine, what about performance? It did lower that its own low-speed cousin (the
7230 way up in 2nd place) in TCP throughput testing. It transferred our test
file set (170 MB) in 85s in high-speed mode as against 114s in normal. The
device frequently went to 48 Mbps under similar conditions that others
maintained a steady 54 Mbps. At the end of the day, you would pay about a Rs.
1,000 more for this AP over its cousin. RQS# E31or SMS 130931 to 9811800601 

Price: Rs 5,367
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-55905660, pushparaj.vasani@carrypaq.com

Buffalo AirStation Broadband Router WBR2-G54

This is a broadband router and features two sets of LEDs: one set along the
front-face and the other down one side. The two sets are identical and serve for
maximum visibility of information. The AirStations from Buffalo feature
something called AOSS for secure communication between the AP and the client.
But for this, you need Buffalo’s own hardware at the other end as well. Under
AOSS, the device will use still use one of WPA, WPA2 or WEP for security.
WBR2-G54 features 11 channels with auto-selection. You can even separate
different connecting clients from one another and decide who to allow using
their MAC addresses.

WDS
is a feature that allows routing between wireless devices and the WBR2-G54
supports it. You can even set it up as a dedicated WDS station. As a broadband
router, it supports packet filtering, NAT and an IDS. The IDS can be configured
to send out alert e-mails in case of detected attacks. There are about 26
different types of logs that can be generated and optionally sent to a Syslog
server.

An interesting feature was almost all the APs we received featured the
ability to select transmission power. But while it was usually selectable only
in dbM units, this one AP allowed you to do that in percentages, making it quite
human friendly. RQS# E28 or SMS 130928 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 4,500
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 011-30888825, buffalo@nexgennetworks.co.in

Netgear WG-602

Initially, we could not connect to this AP’s web interface out of the box, wirelessly. We had to
connect to it using a direct-wired connection. This Netgear AP does not feature a switch and can deliver 11 channels of b, g or mixed wireless connectivity. It is also one of only 2 APs in the entire shootout (the other being the NP-28G) to support Spanning Tree Protocol. Further, it supports region based configuration-where you select your country and it will configure itself according to allowed (legal) feature-sets. Like all Netgear
APs, this one also has ‘NETGEAR’ as its SSID.

The AP can display a list of wirelessly active stations (other APs and bridges), along with a list of channels and frequencies they’re using. And this is not limited to Netgear products. The WG-602 is a multimedia router and features the Wireless Multimedia Mode. It can work as a P2P/P2MP bridge and a repeater if needed.

TCP throughput was top-line (22.4 Mbps), but performance lagged behind in file-transfer (117 seconds). The product is priced at
Rs. 4,800 with a three year warranty. But, given a lack of other features (like logging and firewall), this seems to be a steep price.
RQS# E33 or SMS 130933 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 4,800
Warranty: 3 years
Contact: 011-26207270, atul.jain@netgear.com

Compex Net Passage NP-28G

The Web interface for this AP seems to work only when launched from its
‘uConfig’ software. It has just 11 channels and is more of a multimedia
router than anything else. It even has four USB ports that can be used in a
couple of ways-before that, let’s get over with the standard features of the
unit. The router helps you create ‘pseudo-VLAN’s of your WLAN clients. 
We understand that this is nothing but wireless VLANs where there are no preset
ports people plug into. It also supports the Spanning Tree Protocol like the
WG-602. But, unlike the WG-602, it has a firewall and port-forwarding
capabilities.

The
USB ports on the device can be used for atleast four interesting purposes-
one, you can connect it to a Cable/DSL USB modem and serve the Internet through
it. Second, you could attach an external USB hard disk to it and offer storage
for your wireless clients. Three, a USB Web cam maybe attached (more on this a
bit further on) and four, a USB printer gives you workgroup printing. When you
attach a Web cam to the router, its built-in software will detect it and allow
you to view and control the camera and its output over the web interface. And,
this can be used for security monitoring purposes! RQS# E34 or SMS 130934 to
9811800601

Price: Rs 8,500
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-28221013, sanjaya@rptechindia.com

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