In my time in IT I have worked with a number of wireless devices for the consumer and for businesses. These have ranged everywhere from simple $40 products that are only meant to get you online (not fast, but online) to multi-component wireless systems costing thousands of dollars. All of these still use the same basic technology to get you connected and to pass traffic between your device and the internet. At their heart is going to be a wireless radio, but this does not mean that all wireless products are the same; quite the opposite in fact. There is a clear line between wireless for the average home and wireless for the average business. The factors are mostly in the software used and the features that you have at your disposal, but you also will often have more advanced hardware under the hood as well. Today we will be taking a look at standalone wireless access point that is aimed at the business market (although there are many things that consumers will like about as well). This is the NETGEAR WNDAP360 ProSafe Dual Band Wireless Access Point; let’s see if worth the $290 it will cost to put one of these in your office.
One of the nice things about the latest generation of the 802.11 wireless specification (802.11n) is that there is a lot of headroom available in it before there is a need to move to a new generation. When 802.11n first hit the market it was limited to around 150Mbps. This was due to quite a few factors, most notable of these was the use of spatial streams (breaking the signal into separate streams and reassembling them in proper order at the far end. Once this was combined with MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) things really took off. Now we are hitting the upper edge of the 802.11n spectrum with the 450Mbps routers and adapters. This new line is getting up there and finally pushing the upper limits of what you can do with this latest revision of the 802.11 protocol. We have another one of TRENDNet’s 450Mbps wireless routers in the lab. This time it is the TEW-692GR a 450Mbps concurrent dual band gaming router with a price tag of around $135. So follow along as we find out if this is really worth your time and money.