EnGenius ECP106 Switchable Smart PDU

Over the last few years, I have been slowly upgrading our network. Some of it was just to clean things up but I have also been addressing issues that I have run into here and there as well. Most of that has been running smoothly but it seems like on the rare situations where I go on vacation or on a trip, that is when an issue will pop up and it always seems to require something to be restarted in person. That can be a little hard when you are 2000+ miles away. How do we address that? Well a Smart PDU can help, and EnGenius now has them. They sent over the ECP106, their 6-plug Switchable Smart PDU, and today I’m going to see what it is all about so let’s dig in!

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Zyxel NWA220AX-6E AXE5400 WiFi 6E Access Point

Zyxel Networks is part of Zyxel Group which was established in Taiwan back in 1989 and the Zyxel Networks brand was split off from the Zyxel Communications subsidiary in 2019. The Zyxel Communications side of things focusing on hardware for service providers and Zyxel Networks focusing on network hardware for businesses but they do also have routers, access points, and powerline products for the home as well. Today I’m going to check out the Zyxel NWA220AW-6E which is part of their business lineup, a WiFi 6E capable PoE access point that is designed for upgrading or adding in capacity in high-density WiFi situations with its bandflex radio. 

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EnGenius ECW270 WiFi 6 4x4 Outdoor Access Point

When it comes to EnGenius’s enterprise-focused lineup, especially when it comes to access points, they have a wide variety that covers most needs. I’ve taken a look at some of their indoor and outdoor options but one area where they have been missing something on their outdoor lineup that they have had on their indoor access points is having a 4x4 Wifi 6 Access Point. I previously took a look at the ECW260 which is a 2 x 2 Wifi 6 AP. Well, they now have the ECW270 to fill in that gap. Like with the ECW260, it connects with a 2.5 Gigabit PoE connection but the ECW270 doubles up on its antennas and radios to better utilize that bandwidth. They have also given it a 1 Gig PoE capable port to make it easy to run a PoE camera nearby. We have been using the ECW260 to get better coverage outside and I’m curious how the upgrade to the ECW270 might perform. So today I’m going to take a closer look at the ECW270 and also see how it performs.

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EnGenius ESG510 Security Gateway

This year marks 10 years now that I have been running the same PFSense-based router, I moved to it after seeing how well PFSense performed for our LAN events and after having issues with the basic router that I was previously using. In that time it has been solid but 10 years on the same hardware has had me questioning if I should change things up at all but it hasn’t been a priority at all. I did however recently notice that PF Sense hasn’t had an update for their community edition going all the way back to January of 2022, combine that with the fact that EnGenius recently introduced their new gateways and I thought this couldn’t be a better time to branch out and try out other options. So today I’m going to take a look at the EnGenius ESG510 to see what it is all about.

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EnGenius ECS1552P Cloud 48-Port 4x10Gb 410W PoE+ Switch

Over the last few years, I have been slowly updating our home/office network. I updated our access points to get full coverage in the house and outside, rebuilt a few of our servers to handle how we use them, and also get them mounted in our server rack, and with EnGenius’ help the main backbone has been updated to get 2.5G and a few 10G connections to servers and important devices. I have even cleaned up a lot of the wiring which over the years turned into a mess. The main thing left has been the switches that handle all of the network outlets throughout the house and the second switch needed for our cameras. When I moved in I went with a used switch to cover all of our network jacks but didn’t consider that it might be better to also have it support PoE, so when our cameras expanded past just a few I had to add in the second switch just for that. Both switches are dated however, one I can’t even connect to without using Internet Explorer. So an update has been a long time coming but a costly upgrade given the number of connections I need, needing PoE, and needing SFP+ to get a faster connection between switches. Having it tied in with EnGenius Cloud would also be nice given that our backbone switch and access points are all controlled there as well. Well, EnGenius was kind enough to send over the  ECS1552P Cloud 48-Port 4x10Gb 410W PoE+ Switch which fits the bill perfectly and today I’m going to check it out to see what all it has to offer as well as integrate it into our network and clean things up even farther. So let’s get to it!

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EnGenius Fit EWS377-FIT Wi-Fi 6 4×4 Indoor Wireless AP

I’ve had the chance to check out a variety of products from EnGenius and have been happy enough with them to implement them into my own network from their switches to inside and outside access points. But Engenius has been clear about their EnGenius Cloud lineup from the start, that lineup is focused on enterprise or medium-sized businesses and their pricing has also reflected that. They did however recently introduce a new lineup that they call the EnGenius Fit which targets small businesses and high-end home networks. This has been a growing market and it is exciting to see because the new Fit lineup takes a lot of what we have seen with other EnGenius products but with the small business and enthusiast focus the pricing is more in line with competitors like the Ubiquiti Unifi and Link Omada lineups. The EnGenius Fit lineup can be cloud-based or managed locally and is subscription free as well. So I’m excited to see what the new lineup is all about by checking out the EWS377-FIT, their WiFi 6 4x4 indoor AP. 

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EnGenius ECW336 Wifi 6E Access Point

If you haven’t been paying close attention to WiFi standards over the last few years the change in naming might be confusing. Especially having WiFi AC switching to WiFi 5. The part where things get even more confusing though is when we have WiFi 6 and then later WiFi 6E. Officially both fall under the 802.11ax standard but the E designation adds the 6 GHz band alongside 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz which have been used in the past. I’ve taken a look at multiple WiFi 6 products but with 6E I have had devices that support it but no access point to check it out yet. Well, EnGenius has finally brought out their ECW336 WiFi 6E access point and today I’m going to check out what sets it apart from their WiFi 6 models so let’s dive in and check it out. 

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EnGenius ECS2512 2.5G Switch

As part of updating my home office network, I took a look at the EnGenius ECS2512FP back in 2020. It gave us 2.5G networking with POE to get full speed out to our ECW230 WiFi 6 access point. This also helped get a few PCs connected at 2.5G and using the build-in SFP+ ports I was also able to connect a few PCs and servers at 10G. It's been extremely reliable and fast but not everyone requires POE in their switch and EnGenius has that covered with the regular ECS2512. It has the same 8 2.5G ports, four 10G SFP+ ports, and works with EnGenius Cloud. Today I’m going to check the ECW2512 out and see what else it has to offer.

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EnGenius ECW220S

Keeping your network secure can be a challenge even for a full IT staff but what if you are a small business running a smaller network or maybe a prosumer running a similar network at your home. Keeping tabs on things is left to one person and often someone who isn’t necessarily an IT professional. I know I fall into this category, working from home and having far more devices on the network than the average network. Over the last few years I have been upgrading my network and slowly learning and locking things down more but EnGenius recently introduced two new access points that provide the same function as their past APs like the ECW230 that I previously took a look at. But the two new APs have added security features to help you find issues and secure your network. Today I’m going to check out the ECW220S which is similar to the ECW230 I previously reviewed only with a 2x2 antenna configuration, not a 4x4.

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EnGenius ECW260 WiFi 6 2x2 Outdoor Access Point

Moving to WiFi 6 in my house and office did get us improved performance when it comes to transfer speeds and it also better handles having a lot of devices on the network. But the one big downside for me was a little less range, especially when running through our old plaster over plasterboard walls which are twice as thick and denser than drywall, not to mention who knows what kind of lead paint might be on there. This lead to wireless issues in a few areas in the house at the farthest points and also issues out in my yard and detached garage. This became a bigger issue when mowing as I listen to music on the wireless and it would drop at the farthest parts of my lawn. I also had trouble opening and closing my smart garage door from the mower when on the far side of the garage. Lucky for me EnGenius introduced their ECW260 WiFi 6 2x2 outdoor access point which matches the ECW230 I’m using inside. Our winter hit and I struggled to get it mounted out and get outside testing done but today I’m finally going to check out the ECW260 to see what it is all about.

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EnGenius ECS2512FP Switch

It’s funny how I remember specifically my first experiences with a full Gigabit network. Around the time we started our LAN events, I upgraded our home network to gigabit. But it really was when after a few events that we finally had our whole event network running in that I finally got to experience the transfer speeds and at the time saturating it required more than one hard drive in raid and it was a huge improvement over 100 Megabit. But gigabit has been around now for a long time and in that time storage speeds have gone insane in comparison. For comparison, gigabit is 125 MB/s, and even a 5400 RPM hard drive today will do 147 MB/s. If you are just running your PC and the internet this is perfectly fine because your internet is still the limitation. But if you are transferring files over your network, especially to multiple PCs a 1G or gigabit network is a slowdown and with Intel now including 2.5G network cards in their Z490 chipset faster network speeds are a possibility for more and more people. Today I’m checking out the EnGenius ECS2512FP which supports 2.5G with POE as well as has the potential to run SFP+ transceivers for 10G as well. This combination makes it perfect for feeding our ECW230 WiFi 6 AP and could be a perfect backbone switch with 2.5G to servers and 10G to other switches for a LAN or business.

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EnGenius ESR530 AC1300 Home Mesh System Dual pack

I’ve worked with EnGenius a few times now including upgrading our office network to support testing WiFi 6. They reached out about their ESR530 AC1300 Mesh wireless router combo pack and initially I was hesitant, everyone is moving to WiFi 6 and mesh isn’t exactly new. But when I saw the price of the two ESR530’s was under $100 I was really curious what that might get you. So today I’m going to check out the two ESR530 combo pack and see what they are all about, check out their software, and test them out and see how they perform. They may not be cutting edge, but they are more in line with what a lot of people would want to spend to get a mesh network setup. So it will be interesting to see if they are worth it.

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EnGenius ECW230 WiFi 6 Access Point

If you haven’t been following updates in wireless technology, I would forgive you for not knowing about WiFi 6 or Wireless AX. Even if you do try to keep track, things have been a little extra confusing. Basically, WiFi 6 is the new name for 802.11ax. Depending on who you ask, simplifying the name may be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, I think that cutting it down and including a number makes it much easier to know how it compares to your current router or access point. How could anyone tell if N was better than G or AC is better than N. WiFi 6 has been out for a while now and it has finally started to trickle out to devices like phones and a lot of the medium to high-end motherboards I have been testing. With motherboards having WiFi 6 I haven’t been able to properly test them without updating our office network to it. Which is where EnGenius comes in, they were kind enough to send over their ECW230 WiFi 6 Access Point and their ECS1008P 8-port PoE Managed Switch to up our testing capabilities and today I want to check out what WiFi 6 is all about and see what makes EnGenius’s access point special as well!

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LanReel

For anyone unaware, when you go to a typical LAN party one of the things you need to bring along with your PC is an ethernet cable. The length of the cable depends on where your seat is and where the switch is located but most events just recommend bringing a 25-foot cable. Any cable will get the job done but you want to be able to spot it and you want to be able to pack it up quickly when the event is over. For me I use bring orange cables for both my wife and I so they stand out at the switch and then I just use Velcro cable wraps on the cable to keep it all bundled up. This gets the job done and helps maintain my cable, but it isn’t the fastest to pack up at the end. I do have to take my time winding it up to prevent damage and to make sure next LAN I don’t have a mess. Well a while back a good friend of ours Matt who you might know better as Vector from PDXLAN introduced me to Nick aka Vaelin who has been to PDX events from the beginning. Long story short, he has designed a solution to all of this in what he calls the LanReel. It is a 25-foot network cable that can quickly be spooled back up and packed away in your LANbag. He sent one over and I’ve been playing with it for a little while now, today I wanted to talk a little more about it and show everyone what it is all about.

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