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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The EAP-300 is not Wi-Fi Certified, so I wasn't surprised with it did not properly default to 20 MHz bandwidth mode on power-up. Even though Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is supported, it is disabled by default. But even when I enabled it and tried to connect with my Win 7 test client, the client couldn't detect that WPS was active and start the WPS connect sequence.

So I had to manually configure the AP with WPA2/AES security before running tests using our standard wireless test process, using Channel 1. As is now our standard, I used an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 in a Lenovo x220i notebook running Win 7 Home Premium as the test client. Note that I left the AP in its default 26 dBm transmit power setting for testing.

Because the EAP-300 is not a router, you'll find it in the Wireless Charts, not the Router Charts. Since I don't test that many non-routing wireless products, the pickin's are slimmer for comparison. So I included both single and dual-band products in the comparison charts in Figures 5 and 6.

Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Figure 5: Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

It's clear from both charts that the EAP-300 is not a high performer. The question is, why?

Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, uplink

Figure 6: Wireless performance comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, uplink

For the answer, you need to look no further than the IxChariot plot in Figure 7. Simply put, the EAP-300 has terrible throughput stability and poor low-signal performance. It may achieve decent throughput for awhile. But the big chunks of time where throughput drops to zero push down its average result. Even if we look at maximum throughput, the best ranking that the EAP-300 can achive is mid-chart.

IxChariot plot - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Figure 7: IxChariot plot - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Curiously, the only plots that didn't show the big dropouts were for the simultaneous up/downlink tests. These turned in total throughput of 56 Mbps for 20 MHz bandwidth mode and 87 Mbps for 40 MHz, with nary a dropout.

Here are links to the other 2.4 GHz plots for your reference:

And here is the Performance Table (Figure 8), where you can see lower-than-normal throughput in the mid-level signal locations (C and D), too.

Wireless Performance Table

Figure 8: Wireless Performance Table

Closing Thoughts

Bottom line is that EnGenius seems to have missed the mark with the EAP-300. It can do a few tricks more than your average consumer wireless router converted to an access point and can hide in plain sight with its smoke-detector appearance. But while it may have "high power" (800 mW maximum transmit power), I don't think it will do much to extend the range of your wireless network.

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