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Wireless Reviews

Features

The N900 has a serviceable, but not comprehensive feature set with an admin GUI organized into simple and advanced pages. My Dashboard shown below is part of the simple admin and greets you upon router login. Each of the arrow buttons is a shortcut that takes you to the appropriate advanced settings page to make changes.

N900 My Dashboard

N900 My Dashboard

Actually, your first login puts you into a setup wizard that tries to automatically connect you to the Internet. It had no problem figuring out that it was connected to my LAN's router and set its internet connection type to DHCP.

Before I go into details, here's a rundown of the N900's features

Routing

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP WAN types (MTU adjust available in all modes)
  • DHCP server with MAC address reservation and lease time setting
  • Built-in dynamic DNS client for DynDNS.org and TZO
  • DNS relay enable (default on)
  • DMZ host
  • Static routes
  • IPv6 support (static, Auto[SLAAC/DHCPv6], PPPoE, Link-Local only modes)
  • PPTP, IPsec, SIP ALG disables (default enable)
  • Rule-based allow/deny firewall for outbound service access and inbound port range forwarding (no scheduling, no separate source/destination ports)
  • UPnP support
  • Allow / deny (global) MAC address access filtering (wired and wireless clients)
  • Web content filtering (via NetStar)
  • Remote admin access enable with port adjust
  • HTTPs admin access enable
  • Warning/notice/debug system logging to screen and save to file
  • Router configuration save/load
  • Ping test
  • Router reboot
  • Router / AP mode switch (software only)
  • FasTrack Plus (Ubicom) automatic uplink QoS with manual / automatic uplink speed detection and 32 manual rules

Wireless features

  • WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS) support
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support, pushbutton and PIN
  • Auto and manual channel set
  • SSID broadcast disable
  • 2.4 GHz wireless modes: b-only, g-only, n-only, mixed b/g, mixed g/n, mixed b/g/n (default)
  • 5 GHz wireless modes: a-only, n-only, mixed a/n (default)
  • WMM disable

Sharing features

  • UPnP / DLNA, iTunes, FTP, SMB server enables
  • USB drive (NFTS, FAT, FAT32, HFS+ formats supported) and printer sharing
  • Public and one password protected account

Missing features

  • WDS bridging repeating
  • Wireless rate set
  • Transmit power adjust
  • Physical wireless disable button
  • Beacon period, RTS threshold, DTIM interval, Fragmentation Threshold adjusts
  • Wireless client isolation (from each other)
  • SPI firewall disable, UDP / TCP endpoint filtering, anti-spoof checking
  • WAN ping allow / deny
  • Multicast stream enable
  • IPv6 port forwarding
  • Scheduled port forwarding
  • Triggered port forwarding
  • Scheduled wireless access
  • Syslog support
  • Emailed alerts

The admin interface was responsive and able to save many settings without a long reboot. But when a reboot was needed, an 80 second countdown timer was launched in the browser window.

As noted earlier, the N900's routing features should be fine for most consumers. The main question is how much port forwarding / filtering flexibility you need. The N900's firewall provides 32 rule sets that are used for both outbound filtering and inbound port forwarding with the controls shown below. You don't get separate source and destination ports and there is no scheduling that can be applied.

N900 firewall rules

N900 firewall rules

The DHCP server should be fine for most uses since it lets you conrol lease time, set a domain name and reserve IP addresses by MAC address. However, you can't revoke a client's DHCP lease to force it off the network or force a DHCP renew to get it to show up in the client list.

Table 2 summarizes the key wireless settings. Note that both Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS) forms of WPA/WPA2 security are supported and there is one more 5 GHz channel (165) than many other routers support. Note also that there is no transmit power control, no ability to set maxiumum link rates and no wireless on/off scheduling. You do get guest network support, however, on both bands with separate security modes.

Setting 5 GHz 2.4 GHz
Channel Auto, 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165 Auto, 1 - 11
Bandwidth control 20 MHz [default]
20/40 MHz (Auto)
20 MHz
20/40 MHz (Auto) [default]
Security None
WPA2 Personal
WPA Personal
WPA/WPA2 Personal
WPA2 Enterprise
WPA Enterprise
WPA/WPA2 Enterprise
WEP (legacy only)
Table 2: Wireless settings summary

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