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Wireless Reviews

Setup

The AP comes with a static IP address of 192.168.1.252, but also set to pull an IP address via DHCP if it finds a server. Logging in with the default admin / admin lands you at the System Status page shown below. As you might expect from a "pro" level product, there aren't any wizards to get in your way of bit twiddling. Just jump right on over to the Configuration tab and go at it.

System Summary

System Summary

I found documentation a bit wanting, although an attaboy is deserved for decent online help. The basics seem to be covered in the User Guide. But you'll probably want to also check the FAQ tab on the product support page as well as this FAQ page. The latter page was where I learned the LAPAC1750PRO's WDS implementation is proprietary and doesn't even work with Linksys' other APs like the LAPAC1750.

Features

The LAPAC1750PRO has a lot of features. Here's a rundown of the key ones:

  • Multiple SSIDs: 16 (8 per radio)
  • VLAN Support: Yes
  • Number of VLANs: 17
  • SSID to VLAN Mapping: Yes
  • Captive Portal: Yes
  • Workgroup Bridge: Yes
  • WDS Bridge: Yes (NOTE: Proprietary implementation)
  • IPv6: Yes
  • Access Control per SSID: IPv4, IPv6, and MAC-based
  • DiffServ for QoS: Yes
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2, 802.1X with RADIUS: Yes
  • Rogue AP Detection: Yes
  • 802.1X Supplicant: Yes
  • Channel Isolation: Yes
  • WMM: Yes
  • Single/Central Management System: With Cluster
  • Bandwidth Utilization: Yes
  • Scheduler: Yes
  • Band Steering: Yes
  • Beamforming: Yes
  • Dual Firmware Image Support: Yes
  • Management Access Control: MAC and IP-based
  • Management Interface: Web (HTTP / HTTPS), SNMP
  • Event Notification : Local Log, Remote Syslog, and Email Alerts
  • Network Diagnostics: Log, Ping, and Packet Capture
  • Wi-Fi Certified: Yes

Note that WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) is not supported, which is par for a business-grade access point.

Despite the list above, I couldn't find features like automatic AP power adjustment, fast roaming and client load shedding / distribution, so checked with Linksys. They said that they currently support 802.11i pre-authentication for roaming with clustered LAPAC1750PROs, but that client devices must also support 802.11i.

Linksys also said automatic power adjustment of clustered APs and client load shedding are "in the product roadmap", but with no definite implementation timeframe. Centralized firmware upgrade of clustered APs is also in the roadmap.

Automatic channel management for clusters is already implemented. The screenshot below shows that channel reassignment frequency and interference levels can be set. You can also lock channel assignments for specific radios. Linksys said they determine best channel use by monitoring actual channel utilization.

Channel Management

Channel Management

Here is a bit more on Channel Management from the User Guide.

At a specified interval, the Channel Manager maps APs to channel use and measures interference levels in the cluster. If significant channel interference is detected, the Channel Manager automatically re-assigns some or all of the APs to new channels per an efficiency algorithm (or automated channel plan). If the Channel Manager determines that a change is necessary, that information is sent to all members of the cluster and a syslog message is generated indicating the sender AP, new and old channel assignments.

The Wireless Neighborhood feature is an attempt to help visualize wireless coverage. But the data presentation takes some getting used to and is nowhere near as intuitive as the signal strength overlay on maps display found in wireless survey tools like Fluke's AirMagnet.

Wireless Neighborhood

Wireless Neighborhood

I had only one AP review sample, although Linksys would have been happy to send more. So I didn't explore any of the cluster features.

A feature that could prompt an AP purchase on its merits alone is Captive Portal. This is one place where a wizard might have been handy. Fortunately, the Captive Portal admin pages are arranged pretty much in priority order and you can just step through them. You can create multiple Portals and associate them with multiple Virtual APs (VAP).

Since each VAP has its own security configuration, can be assigned to a VLAN, have scheduled availability, up and downlink bandwidth limits and even be band-steered to 5 GHz, you can see how powerful Captive Portals can be.

Captive Portal Instance Configuration

Captive Portal Instance Configuration

Of course you can customize the portal page. Here's a screenshot of the default that is built in, captured from the built-in preview feature.

Captive Portal Default Capture Page

Captive Portal Default Capture Page

The gallery has more screenshots of admin screens with commentary. Again, there are a lot of features. So if you are seriously considering a purchase, you should download the User Guide and give it a thorough read.

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