Engenius Wi-Fi AP Review

  • Marcelo Reimer
    Participant
    Post count: 4
    #142 |

    Jon Limmer of GTIS in Waxhaw recently did a network upgrade for Guinea-Bissau and he purchased two types of 2.4 GHz Wireless-N access points from Engenius: the indoor EAP150 model and the outdoor ENH202 model.

    These are moderate cost devices, both under $100 US each. They are business grade hardware, and yet not really highest cost. For example, Cisco makes some really high end enterprise stuff that costs about $800 per AP! We didn’t need that for this installation and the budget didn’t allow for it, but these units met the need well.

    Indoor EAP150:
    Jon commented that he was very pleased with the indoor EAP150 units. With their built-in omni antennas, they provided solid coverage for the buildings they were installed in, even better than he had expected. I see on the website that they also offer some even higher power (and likely more expensive) internal APs, but the EAP150 met the need, even penetrating well through 5+ cement block walls in the buildings. With it’s smoke detector design and Power over Ethernet, it was logical to mount these APs on the ceiling, which also helps reduce signal drop due to office furniture located right near the AP (since it’s on the ceiling it produces a signal with less interference).

    Outdoor ENH202:
    Jon said the outdoor ENH202 did not provide as far a range of coverage as he expected though… With 800mW transmit power, 29dBm, we expected this AP to really pump out the signal. It was OK, but not as great as we hoped for. There were a few trees in the area, so he did not have a clear line of sight and that always becomes an issue, which may have contributed to less-than-stellar coverage.

    This AP has an internal directional antenna, so you focus it in the area where you need coverage. The antenna is 10dBi dual polarity, with a 70° horizontal beam width and a vertical 21° beam width. This model does not include an external antenna connector, but some other Engenius outdoor models do, so a different model of AP combined with a higher dBi directional external antenna may have met the need better. Otherwise when within range, the AP performed fine.

    One caution I would add for this AP would be that it should probably be shielded from all-day direct sunlight due to its plastic casing, which could become brittle after a few years in the sunshine. In the installation which Jon did, the AP was mounted high up on the gable end wall of a building up near the roof overhang, so it was protected from sunlight and not sticking up on a pole above the roof where it might become a lightning magnet. Engenius also makes external APs with watertight aluminum enclosures, which cost more but may be better suited for full time direct sunlight locations.

    Good Temp Ratings:
    One thing that Jon and I like about the Engenius APs is that their temperature ratings are very good:
    Internal EAP150: 0 to 50° C (32° to 122° F)
    External ENH202: -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F) and that’s the Operating temp rating, not the storage temp rating!

    Since Guinea-Bissau is an equatorial location, they need stuff that can run at over 40°C indoors during the hottest season. Most cheaper brand-name APs have pitiful temperature ratings, because they are designed to be used inside of air conditioned home/office locations.

    Advanced Features:
    Both of these models support up to 4 VLANs with SSID-to-VLAN mapping, so you can run multiple SSIDs for different sets of users, such as a GuestNet and a Business network, each with its own SSID which maps to the appropriate VLAN. Of course your network switches need to support VLANs so this might be fancier than needed, but it’s available.

    Both models support WEP/WPA/WPA2 personal and enterprise encryption schemes.
    These APs run in the 2.4GHz frequency range, and they support 802.11b/g/n standards.

    One thing I noticed on the website specifications tab is that they list just 11 operating channels, versus some other brands that list 13 or 14 channels for International use. But down under channel selection it says “setting varies by country” so maybe I’m seeing the 11 channel info because I’m looking at a US website (and equipment marketed in the USA is limited to 11 2.4GHz channels.)

  • Marcelo Reimer
    Participant
    Post count: 4
    #143 |

    Reply by Paul Zee
    At ITConnect in Burkina Faso we used an Engenius EOC1650 indoor/outdoor AP. A very nice and small unit. It also was not as strong a signal as I would expect. It worked well through 2 walls with the laptop built-in wireless, but wasn’t a real booming signal. I think a third wall would have killed it.
    So I guess the moral is don’t expect wonders from these “high power” units.

    Reply by Richard Young

    I see the EAP150 runs direct from 12VDC too, which could be a big plus for some setups.
    I wonder how much of a disadvantage the lack of an adjustable antenna is? I guess there is no facility to plug in an external antenna either?
    http://engeniustech.com/business-networking/outdoor-access-points-c… says ENH202 runs on 24VAC, I wonder if that is a typo?

    Reply by Hank Scott
    Yeah I wonder about the “AC” part of the 24V specification for the ENH202. Usually these things are DC. When comparing the power specs for the EAP150 and the ENH202, I also noticed that the EAP150 uses standard POE (IEEE802.3af) whereas the ENH202 uses a “Proprietary PoE design”. So in theory you could use any standard POE injector with the EAP150 but not with the ENH202!
    The EAP150 has a power jack on it, or it can be used with POE. The ENH202 does not have any power jack on it, as it’s designed for outdoor bridge use and can only be powered through its proprietary POE injector. Still the AC spec does seem strange, running an AC signal over POE along with the DC network signal on the other pins?
    I can understand why they want 24V though since it’s designed for POE. You often want higher voltages to account for line drop, and more flexibility in the acceptable input voltage range on the AP. Many APs that use POE run at 48V, which I think is the IEEE802.3af standard.

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