Mobility is not just phones, but things that go with those phones. Most decent phones today have Wi-Fi built into them so you’ll need something to be able to use it right? If you’re looking for one then the smart thing to do would be to get the new 802.11N spec, in either a Wireless N Router or a switch. Chances are that if you’re reading this you’ve got a cable or DSL modem in your home, but you might not have wireless or if you do it’s only 802.11G as most are you get from providers at this point. Some phone today even have wireless N in them, but if you don’t have an N switch or router you won’t be able to fully utilize that speed so it might be time to upgrade or expand your network.
Today for review Geeks.com has sent me over the Airlink 101 AP671W 802.11n Access Point and Switch that despite being inexpensive has several decent features in it. The AP671W can be an Access Point, a Repeater, a Wireless Bridge, Point to Point, Point to Multi-Point or a WDS Bridge. The main feature that everyone should understand is the Access Point, this allows your devices to access the internet through it. One of the other great features of this product is that it can be used as repeater which means it can extend your existing wireless networks range. The AP671W is a basic product with basic features, it’s easy to set up and use and best of all it’s inexpensive.
AirLink 101 AP671W 300Mbps 802.11n Wireless LAN Access Point & 5-Port Switch
Surf and download files without wires with the AirLink 101 AP671W Wireless N 300 Multi-Function Access Point!
The AP671W is an Access Point, Universal Repeater, AP Client (Wireless Bridge), Point to Point, Point to Multi-Point Bridge and WDS Bridge in one sleek device. It’s designed for those who want to add wireless capability to a wired network or extend the range of wireless networks!
This Wireless N 300 is equipped with a 5-port 10/100 Mbps switch and delivers fast data rate of up to 300 Mbps! Two 3 dBi antennas provide longer distance and wider coverage! Plus, you’ll get superior security protection with WPA2, WPA and WEP encryption!
* Access Point
* Universal Repeater
* AP Client (Wireless Bridge)
* Point to Point
* Point to Multi-Point Bridge
* WDS Bridge
-Highest data rate of up to 300 Mbps with 802.11n 2.0
-Two (2) 3 dBi antennas provide longer distance, wider coverage
-WPA2/WPA, WEP enhanced security
-Built-in 5-port switch
-Standards: Wireless: IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet: IEEE 802.3, 802.3u
-Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz
-Data Rate 802.11n: up to 300 Mbps, 802.11g: up to 54 Mbps, 802.11b: up to 11 Mbps
Front Panel LEDs:
-Power, WLAN, LAN 1 – 5
Rear Panel Features:
-Reset/Easy Setup Button
-Five (5) 10/100 Mbps RJ-45 LAN ports
-12VDC power plug
-1.25 x 6.8 x 4-inches (H x W x D, approximate)
What’s in the Box?
So the AP671W comes in a fairly plain looking box.
Inside you’ll find ethernet cable, software/driver disc, power supply, rubber feet, and the AP671W itself.
The AP671W is small in size and black in color and it’s made of plastic. It features two antennas for longer range and wider coverage.
On the back you’ll find 5 ethernet ports, power connection, Rest/WPS button and a switch to turn the radio on or off.
On the front is the Airlink 101 logo along with LED indicators for power, WLAN and the five ethernet ports.
On the bottom you’ll find place for those rubber feet, but there’s no wall mounting holes to be found.
Impressions / Review:
Installation is straight forward, just connect ethernet and power and you’re ready to go for basic uses. If you have other devices you’ll need to connect those as well, but for this review I just used the basic setup.
Once it’s connected to your network pop in the disc and follow the steps to get it up and running. Doing it this way makes life much easier, set up is simple and just takes a few minutes. You’ll need to change the default password, this is important so don’t skip this step! You most likely won’t have to configure the IP address so you can just leave that as is.
The next step is to select the mode you want.
In the next step you can rename it if you want and select the channel.
Wireless security is the next step, here you can enter your key to be used to allow other devices to connect to the access point.
Then you’re all done, just reboot and you’re ready to go.
From there you’re ready to go, you don’t have to do anything else at all. If you want though you can directly into the AP671W and access all of its features. The first page is Status, here you’ll find the basic information about the AP671W. The firmware that shipped is the most current one, so I didn’t need to bother with it at all.
On the next page you’ll find the Basic Settings and you can change Modes, or the Bands if you want along with seeing who’s connected, changing the channel or the name.
The next page would be Security:
Then you have MAC Address Filtering:
Then there’s Advanced Settings, I’d advise against changing anything unless you know what you’re doing here.
The next choice is the settings for WPS or Wi-Fi Protected Setup which allows you and your devices to automatically connect.
Next up is Radius Server:
Then you have Management for changing password or IP address.
… and finally you have Tools for Backup, restoring factory defaults and to update the Firmware.
I’m currently using the Siig Wireless N Router and I’ve got a Siig Wireless N PCI adapter in one of my computers. I compared the speeds I got with both the Siig and the Airlink and they were the same running in Wireless N mode, or mixed mode, so speeds are as expected.
Sure it’s not an advanced, expensive access point, but not everyone needs that do they?
For less than $50 you can be up and running with a nice new wireless N network!
The AP671W is fairly basic yes, but not everyone needs a fully advanced setup, as long as you’ve got security enabled you should be fine. You do use security on your wireless right? You’d better!
Setup couldn’t be easier, just make the connections and pop in the disc and you’re ready to go in a few minutes.
The AP671W is a basic access point yes but it can be used in conjunction with your existing wireless network to extend your range when in repeater mode, which is nice.
+Simple and easy to use and set up
+Speed comparable to other 802.11n router/switch
+Several modes to pick from
-Only 64bit HEX option, no 128bit
-No wall mount