Review: EnGenius ECW220S Wireless Access Point

I get a fair amount of questions about how to cover a large area with WiFi. The short answer is that if you’re a home user, a mesh WiFi system is the answer. But for businesses, that’s not the way to go as businesses go for access points as you can run either Ethernet or Power Over Ethernet (POE) to the locations that need WiFi and you install the access point in that location. So if you’re the latter, we’re going to take a look at one of these access points today. And that’s the EnGenius ECW220S:

This access point is pretty low key and doesn’t occupy a lot of space. It may even go unnoticed by most people. The only thing that you see on the outside are a set of LEDs along the top.The first is power, while the second indicates whether you’re connected to your router. The third and fourth lights indicate the status of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands respectively.

Underneath is a recessed area where there is your power connection if you’re not using POE (Please note that the power adapter is not included), and a gigabit Ethernet jack that supports POE, both on the left. And on the right is a hole to reset the access point via a paperclip. I should also note that all the brackets and screws that you need to mount this are in the box.

Setup in typical EnGenius fashion is simple. Download and install the EnGenius smartphone app available in Android and iOS versions, scan a barcode on the back of the housing and spend a few minutes getting settings that work for you configured. You might also want to check for a firmware update to make sure that you’re good to go.

The best way to test this is to use POE. So using this EnGenius POE switch, I set it up and did some performance and range testing. I should note that besides getting the power adapter from EnGenius, you can also use a POE adapter like this one that EnGenius sent me to power the access point.

The access point supports the following speeds:

  • 5Ghz: 1,200Mbps
  • 2Ghz: 574Mbps 

And it support up to WiFi6 as well. Plus it supports 2×2 Mu-MiMo. Which means that if you have a lot of devices, you should not notice any slowdowns. In my testing using WiFi 6 doing file copies, I registered an average of 110MB/sec at close range. When I move to the other end of my condo which I measured to be about 10 meters, the speed dropped to 85MB/sec. These are all respectable speeds and won’t cause complaints from anyone.

Now this access points does have a few extra party tricks up its sleeve:

  • Wireless intrusion detection system (WIDS) for threat detection
  • Wireless intrusion protection system (WIPS) for attack remediation

Those two items mean that you won’t get pwned by someone who’s trying to break into your network via WiFi.

  • Zero-wait DFS to avoid client disruption when radar is detected on DFS channels
  • Dedicated scanning radios for 24/7 wireless AP security monitoring
  • RF spectrum analysis for identifying clean channels and ensuring all SSIDs are legitimate
  • Bluetooth 5 low energy for BLE device detection and location-based extended advertising

Those three items will help you to have the best WiFi performance possible and avoid having someone spoof your WiFi to pwn you. The interesting thing about this is that using the scanning feature, I was able to find a total of 33 access points that are around me which is six more than I was previously aware of. And that included what appears to be a smart TV that seems to be advertising itself as a WiFi access point for reasons that I don’t quite understand.

All of this is under the EnGenius suite called AirGuard. All this is free. Though if you want the most security features, you’ll need to buy a “Pro” license (for example, the Network Activities under the diagnostics tool will remain available only for a minute at a time on the basic license). That’s my only negative with this access point as having this sort of security and performance feature set available to you would have made this an unbeatable deal. Though I would argue that at $489 US or $540 Canadian which is what I found it going for on Amazon, it’s still a good deal for those who need an access point or three or five with good performance and security. If that’s you, this access point should be on your list to check out.

One Response to “Review: EnGenius ECW220S Wireless Access Point”

  1. I must say I’m impressed with this AP as I did a video on it today actually but when the year of the premium license expires I could see a business possibly paying for it but until their pricing model goes public it’s hard to say it it’s a slam dunk or not.

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