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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

The 6504n holds a few surprises in its two wireless menus. The Wireless Basic Settings screen shown in Figure 8 has Mode, Band, ESSID and Channel controls. Mode selection includes normal (AP) and three bridging modes: Point-to-Point; Point-to-MultiPoint; and WDS.

Wireless Setup
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Figure 8: Basic Wireless Setup

The first two establish router-to-router links with no client support, while the WDS mode supports bridging and client association. Note that the "AP" mode is actually the normal "router" mode; there is no "AP" mode like that on other products that allows the 6504n to function as a non-routing access point.

The Associated Clients is actually a button that shows active wireless clients. It doesn't allow you to forcefully disconnect them, however.

Figure 9 shows the Wireless Advanced Settings page, with more interesting settings. Data Rate lets you force 11b and 11g data rates from 1 to 54 Mbps, while the N Data Rate controls, uh, N data rates. You'll need to know the translation from the MCS (Modulation Coding Scheme) codes (0-15) to actual data rates, though, which you can view here.

Advanced Wireless Setup
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Figure 9: Advanced Wireless Setup

The Transmit Rate dropdown is blank and looks like a control that someone forgot to remove. The Channel Width is where you control the bandwidth mode.

Since the 6504n is Wi-Fi Certified to 802.11n Draft 2.0, this is supposed to default to the 20 MHz setting shown. But I found that it defaulted to the Auto 20/40 MHz mode, which is in violation of the Wi-Fi Draft 2.0 Certification requirements. This makes the 6504n the second Wi-Fi Certified product I've tested (the Linksys WRT600N was the first) that doesn't actually meet the 802.11n Draft 2.0 certification requirements.

I've also had a reader report that he found his AirLink 101 Draft 11n router also defaulted to 40 MHz bandwidth mode, which makes three non-compliant "certified" products. I wonder how many more there are, but the Wi-Fi Alliance continues to refuse comment on the issue. I asked my Edimax contact whether there are any plans to address this problem on the 6504n and he has yet to get back to me.

Note that there is no indication of the 40 MHz mode extension channel in the settings and it is not shown in the Wireless Status page, either. But, as with all 11n products, the extension channel is four channels away from the Primary channel. So for my Channel 1 setting (the default was 11), the extension channel used is 5.

The other wireless feature of note is the product's Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) implementation. Given my experience with WPS on other draft 11n products to date, I didn't expect it to work. But when I tried a push-button initiated WPS session, it actually worked...sorta.

The router and client completed the process in under a minute just fine. But the session didn't automatically configure the router and client for WPA2-PSK. Instead, it just moved whichever security mode that the router was set to over to the client and completed the connection. Nice try, but that's not how WPS is supposed to work. So, like every other draft 11n router I've tested so far, WPS doesn't work on this one, either.

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