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NETGEAR and EnGenius Products Get an Early Start on Wi-Fi 6 : Page 2 of 2

While neither is based on the “finished” specs, these Wi-Fi 6-ready devices will do all that any not-yet Wi-Fi 6 device can do, and a bit more. By James E. Gaskin

NETGEAR61 is the SSID for the AX12, and at 5 GHz it provides 68% signal strength (Figure 2). That beats the 60% signal from the strings SSID, our former coverage champion, a Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi router. 1750-1-5G is a Linksys access point connected over a Powerline Ethernet adapter from Comtrend (PG-9172PoE) and located in the master bedroom, which is why it’s 100%. 2wire780 is the cable modem Wi-Fi from Spectrum.

Figure 2

NETGEAR Nighthawk proved to be an excellent all-around router with the standard controls and features of comparable routers in its class, plus some extra thanks to the Wi-Fi 6 technology.

EnGenius 11ax Managed Indoor Wireless Access Point

Speaking of access points, the EnGenius 11ax is the endpoint for a Wi-Fi system using managed PoE switches. But EnGenius didn’t send a switch, just the access point and a PoE injector.

Luckily, it didn’t matter. We replaced our Linksys access point with the EnGenius model (it is smaller than the Linksys 1750), and it worked immediately. While the managed switch supports cloud-based management, you can still login directly to the access point to access all the configuration screens, which we did (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Business-like and unobtrusive, the EnGenius 11ax EWS357AP is aimed at small and medium-size business users. Like the NETGEAR router, it’s backward-compatible with all previous Wi-Fi protocols and includes OFDMA for up to 1,200 Mbps on 5 GHz bands. It supports up to 127 clients through multiple configurable SSIDs, includes all the standard authentication tools like WPA3 and WPA2-AES, and uses beamforming tricks to ensure good performance for all users.

A Good Time to Upgrade

If you need to upgrade a Wi-Fi router or access point, getting a Wi-Fi 6-ready device like the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX6000 RAX120 or the EnGenius 11ax EWS357AP will do all that any not-yet Wi-Fi 6 device can do, and a bit more.

FEATURES AND PRICING (Courtesy of NETGEAR)

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 12-stream RAX120 Wi-Fi 6 Router….$399.99 retail, $295 street; available now

FEATURES

  • 802.11ax Dual Band Wi-Fi (AX6000)
  • 2.4 GHz AX: 4x4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps
  • 5 GHz AX: 8x8 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/80+80MHz, up to 4.8Gbps
  • Backward compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi

WI-FI BAND…Simultaneous dual band 2.4 and 5 GHz

PORTS

  • 5 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 WAN and 4 LAN
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet Port Aggregation
  • 5G/2.5G/1G Multi-Gig Ethernet LAN port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports

PROCESSOR … AX optimized powerful 64-bit quad-core 2.2 GHz processor

SECURITY

  • Latest Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3)
  • Guest network access—separate and secure
  • VPN support—secure access to your home network away from home
  • Automatic firmware update delivers latest security patches

DIMENSIONS 12.2 x 7.48 x 1.77 in (310 x 190 x 45 mm)

FEATURES AND PRICING (Courtesy of EnGenius Technologies)

EnGenius 11ax EWS357AP Managed Indoor Access Point…$219 retail, $189 street; available now

FEATURES

Standards…. 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax

Frequencies

  • 2.4 GHz max. data rate: 574 Mbps
  • 5 GHz max. data rate: 1,200 Mbps
  • Radio chains/streams, 2x 2:2
  • RF Output Power (2.4 GHz): 23 dBm 20 dBm
  • RF Output Power (5 GHz): 23 dBm 20 dBm

Ethernet Ports

  • 1x Port (PoE+)
  • 1x Port (PoE)
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet

Model EWS377AP doubles the throughput and includes a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port. ($339 retail, $289 street)

Images: Courtesy NETGEAR and EnGenius

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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