by September 6, 2005 0 comments



DAX 915ABO-E
Access points are not showpieces and this model from DAX is a reminder to this. Straight away, it impresses with its security features. It comes with five different mechanisms (WEP, WPA, WPA2, EAP and PEAP) with different combinations of feature sets (like EAP with MD5, without it and so on). Access to the WLAN hosted by this AP can be controlled using MAC address lists and this was the only one that supported auto-fetching this list from a central TFTP server. It also supports ‘Station Isolation’ and ‘Client Isolation’. The first is supported only by the AT-WA7400 and for the
second they are joined by the WG-102. .

DX-915 can be configured for fail-over routing and load balancing quite easily. You can do this based on upto two different parameters: user load and bandwidth demand. You can create groups of other DAX APs and transfer users among them. You can further setup the maximum number of clients the AP can handle (64 is the hard ceiling for this AP). This
ensures that the wireless network performance does not suffer as more users connect.

What’s more, the AP also supports WDS (Wireless Distribution System). However, in the DX-915, you can create upto 6 such networks each with its own user-configurable MAC address-one of which will be the local AP itself. In addition the AP features packet filtering, SNMP and detailed logging. RQS# E20 or SMS 130920 to 9811800601

Quick Specs

Modes: AP, Bridge, AP-Client
Load balancing: By AP-groups, bandwidth and user count
WDS: With MAC-based separation
Security: WEP, WPA, WPA2, EAP (MD5), PEAP
Special: Station isolation, client isolation
Price: Rs 15,370
Warranty: 3 years
Contact: 080-24323558, sk@daxnetworks.com
 

Why it won
  • Price is just above average for category but augmented by a 3 year warranty
    Best features overall, with good security measures as well as multiple function modes
  • Stable performance in all tests

Cisco Aironet BR1310G-E

The Aironet supports PoE and uses a power-injector. It supports ‘network mapping’ but we did not have other Cisco wireless products handy. The AP itself
supports a ton of services-Telnet/SSH, CDP, Mobile IP, Hot-standby, DNS, HTTP and
NTP. Access to the unit is controlled by built-in users or a RADIUS server with fallback to local security.
It has detailed client-wise reports. You can view a list of connected clients and drill down to see what it is doing. Further you can do link
testing and bandwidth testing to check out what performance that client is receiving, all from the Web interface of this device. The number of types of reports and options for each of them is mind-blowing — you have a report for everything the AP/bridge does and you can send it anywhere you like-Event log,
SNMP, Syslog servers or to terminals. 

This is only one of two entries overall to support software antenna configuration-despite there being no external antennae. You can separately select which antenna (right or left) does what (transmit or receive). The only other AP
to come close is in the SOHO category.

The BR1310G allows optimization of settings for throughput or range and allows you to customize them. RQS# E21 or SMS 130921 to 9811800601

Quick Specs

Modes: Root, non-root, AP, Bridge
Load balancing: Not available
WDS: Yes
Security: WEP, WPA, EAP, RADIUS
Special: Antenna configuration
Price: Rs 58,500
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-24981212, dcindia@datacraft-asia.com 

Why it won
  • Best performance overall, with highest TCP throughput, fastest file transfer
  • Detailed logging and management features
  • Lost heavily in pricing-highest price among received

Netgear WG-102

Priced at just below the median for this category, the WG-102 packs too few features compared to the others and that’s mostly where it loses out. However, it is the best among the rest, featuring quite a few things you’d find useful. For instance, it features the SuperG mode in countries where laws permit that allows 802.11g clients to use more bandwidth. The AP in its management interface (like a few others) features a country selection field. Its software then uses this to check against an internal database to see what
features are allowed by that country-anything not permitted is automatically disabled.
It can report a list of other APs, but this is limited to only WG-102 sisters. It also has a HTTP redirect (classified as its ‘DMZ’) that permits you
to redirect requests to a particular URL-like your intranet site. The WG-102 can function as a P2P or P2MP bridge or a repeater in addition to an AP.

The AP has a really odd out-of-the-box IP address (192.168.0.229) and the
manual states that your client needs to be 192.168.0.210 to connect. When you access the page, the connection is over
SSL!

Even though the WG-102 is lower in features to the AT-WA7400, it makes up massively in performance, enough to beat it. RQS# E22 or SMS 130922 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 10,200 
Warranty: 3 years 
Contact: 011-26207270, atul.jain@netgear.com

Allied TeleSyn AT-WA7400

Called the ‘Cirrus’, this model comes in fourth because of two primary reasons-lack luster performance and price. In features, it actually stands second overall. It was the second slowest in the category in file-transfer (taking 2:17 minutes to transfer 170 MB). WA-7400 does b and g modes along with the turbo option. It features MAC based access filtering, load balancing on utilization thresholds, QoS control for WiFi multimedia using EDCA (a form of distribution control). It allows you to create upto 4 WDS bridges and functions as an NTP server.

Other than the two winners of this category, this is the only unit that supports clustering explicitly. The configuration options are extensive: you can setup users, access control, sessions and channels for each cluster. In order to determine the best environment for your cluster, you can do channel planning (automated available) where it will show you exactly which of the available channels are in use and what the load on each is.

Quite a lot of APs today feature VLAN ability. This one allows you to automatically place all guests on a separate VLAN. 
RQS# E23 or SMS 130923 to 9811800601

Price: Rs 21,000
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-56764244, sgupta@alliedtelesyn.com

D-Link DWL-2100AP

The AirPlus ExtremeG version is the only super 54 Mbps AP in this category, labeled at a whopping 125 Mbps-a promise matched only by the Belkin F5D7231-4 in the SOHO category. However, this doesn’t seem to do it much good in performance. While it did do better with the ExtremeG CardBus adapter in the client than with the standard one, the performance still lags behind the others. But you can see the difference clearly in the file-transfer test where it took a little over 4 minutes to send 170 MB of files across with the LinkSys card. In sharp contrast, it transferred the files in just 97 seconds with its own ExtremeG card.

It is also the only one of this set that features 13 channels instead of 11 in the others. And it auto-hops between them with best frequency detection. The AP can be configured as a WDS+AP, WDS bridge, repeater or an AP client too. We did not find any option to let it operate in 802.11b mode.

The AP can be configured using Telnet and its Web interface. But the features are nothing ‘special’. In reporting, you get a list of connected clients with their IP and MAC addresses, with no other control. You also have a traffic stats page that shows how much traffic per protocol has been transmitted overall. RQS# E24 or SMS 130924 to 9811800601

Price: Rs. 6,300
Warranty: 1 year
Contact: 022-26526696, sales@dlink.co.in

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