Overall and Final Verdict
A few years ago I first started to switch our wireless network over to EnGenius when we first moved to WiFi6 and I have continued to be impressed with its performance over that time. The only issue I have run into in that time is that WiFi 6 itself struggles a lot with our extremely thick and dense plaster walls which caused me to eventually expanded things with an outside access point to get better performance out across the yard. There were a few other weak spots in the house which could have been helped by maybe moving our APs around. But adding in the ECW220S ended up being a much better choice. It is a WiFi 6 2x2 which means it doesn’t have the same bandwidth that our ECW230 does, but for being in a far corner of the house it fixed the performance issues in that area completely and has been rock solid. Frankly, though, that isn’t the story at all, you can get all of that with the ECW220 or a similar device. Where the ECW220S stands out were the changes EnGenius made to add in AirGuard. They doubled the clock speed on the CPU, added BLE5 for Bluetooth scanning, and added two more radios for continuous scanning of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. It even has a 2.5G network connection now, basically, it is an ECW230 only they are using the extra channels for scanning.
AirGuard uses that scanning and processing power to keep an eye out for wireless threats and once I had things set up I was surprised to find out that our wireless network was dealing with attacks. This prompted me to finally put off changing things around to be a little more secure and with the tools, EnGenius provided I was able to pinpoint what device was causing the attacks and take it offline. I came into this review expecting to check out the theoretical performance of AirGuard and ended up having it find and fix an issue we didn’t know we had. AirGuard is still new and EnGenius has been updating as they go so I am curious to see what else they do with it, but so far it has been extremely useful. The only downside for me is that my other APs don’t also have the same capabilities which would have helped a lot in pinpointing where the rogue device was.
As always, setting up the ECW220S was extremely simple. I typically am not a big fan of “cloud” integration but I do like that you can scan a device and it is up and running. EnGenius Cloud is also easy to navigate and brings together a lot of information into one place. The only other downside I ran into for the ECW220S was that it doesn’t support the new WiFi 6E but from the looks of it, EnGenius has that in the pipeline. The other is on the pricing, which given that this is an enterprise-focused device isn’t too big of a surprise. The ECW220S has an MSRP of $499 which is the same price as the ECW230 when I reviewed it previously. Hardware-wise they do seem to be similar so that isn’t a stretch at all. It is also priced to a Cisco Meraki MR36 which has similar features.
Live Pricing: HERE