Review: EnGenius SkyKey

I have to admit, when the package from EnGenius arrived containing the EnGenius SkyKey, I was surprised by the size of the SkyKey:

For reference, I have my Spigen Tough Armor case for my iPhone 12 Pro next to the SkyKey so that you can compare the size. But as you can see, it’s tiny. EnGenius has given the SkyKey a magnetic back. That allows it to clamp securely to the side of a telco rack. Or you can use the included screws to mount it.

On one side, you get two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one which supports Power Over Ethernet.

On the other side you get a microSD card slot for configuration backups, plus a socket for the optional power adapter should you need it. There’s also a reset switch if all else fails.

So what does this device do? It acts as a bridge between your EnGenius network peripherals. That allows you to quickly setup and control up to 100 EnGenius switches and access points. Thus making your life easier as a network admin. To test this out, EnGenius also sent me a EAP1250 Wireless access point along with a Power Over Ethernet Adapter so that I can set up my own mini EnGenius network. I ended up not using that as I have an EnGenius Power Over Ethernet switch handy. I will have a separate review of the EAP1250 shortly. But for now, I will focus on the SkyKey.

Deploying the SkyKey took just a few minutes and was laughably easy:

  • Connect the SkyKey to my PoE switch that I had from a previous EnGenius review
  • I have an EnGenius Cloud account and the corresponding iOS app on my iPhone. But if you don’t you’ll need to create an account and download the app.
  • Add the SkyKey by scanning in the QR code on its base.
  • From there, I added the wireless access point so that it could be managed along with the switch.

Once set up, I can then use SkyKey to manage all of this either locally or remotely. You also have the App or a webpage as options in terms of how to manage your gear. And it’s insanely simple to use. I tested using eZMaster to manage the access point’s configuration, update the firmware, and the like. This is the part that really excites me as it gives you a single pane of glass to manage all your EnGenius networking gear. Or put another way, you need to be in the EnGenius ecosystem to fully leverage this. It also addresses a concern that some of my corporate clients have. Cloud managed networking gear is perceived by some as a security risk. Whether it is or isn’t is a completely different discussion that I will not get into here. But the SkyKey takes this concern off the table by making managing your network as convenient as cloud based solutions, while having the security of an on premise solution. Another plus is that it provides subscription-free cloud network management capability. That is something else that will appeal to many.

The EnGenius SkyKey is available for $147.86 CDN on Amazon. If you’re in the EnGenius ecosystem, this as far as I am concerned is a no brainer in terms of making life easier if your job is to manage a small/medium business network.

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