Overall and Final Verdict
My expectation for the EnGenius ECW270 was that it would be similar to the ECW260 that I took a look at previously, but doubled up in radios to go from 2x2 of the ECW260 to 4x4 but once I dug into things I found it to be a lot more. The ECW270 has stepped up the overall construction significantly with a big part of its construction being an aluminum main housing with a large heatsink that covers the entire back. With our ECW260 and being in northern Ohio I hadn’t ever really considered temperatures to be a concern but the reality is we get hot days as well and some intense sun which even has yellowed our ECW260 significantly over the past two years. With that increasing the cooling capacity is great to see, especially with the increased processing power and twice as many radios. Beyond that though the ECW270 has new larger antennas with large metal mounts. The build construction of the new access point is significantly better than EnGenius’s previous outdoor access point.
The ECW270 did give us a measurable performance improvement, but that only scratched the surface of what the 4x4 access point is capable of with most of that performance being limited by almost all wireless devices only supporting 2x2. The real performance will be seen when the ECW270 is handling lots of devices. In addition to the wireless performance, it also has a secondary LAN connection where you can pass PoE and data through to a second device, perfect for an IP cam to keep an eye on the same area.
Like with past EnGenius Cloud devices, setting the ECW270 up was quick and easy with the use of QR codes and the app. The Cloud software also makes managing your network easy as long as you keep everything in-house. It is cloud-based however which some people won’t be a fan of and unlike the EnGenius Fit lineup, they don’t have an on-premises controller option available to avoid that.
There were a few downsides with the new mounting design being one change that I wasn’t a big fan of. While the mount design on the ECW260 wasn’t perfect, the design was completely hidden behind the access point where the ECW270’s mount is wider and is visible on the sides giving full view and access to your mounting solution. In that same vein, the information sticker on the ECW270 is on the side and visible easily as well in that same situation. Obviously, the best security is going to be keeping the access point out of reach, but if you can’t do that it is more exposed than I would like. When installing the ECW270 the LAN connections are extremely recessed up into the housing. The ECW260 was similar and I wouldn’t mind this at all, but because of how tight things are it is extremely hard to unhook the connection. While performance was great, the ECW270 is still WiFi 6 not 6E which would add in the 6Ghz radios. This isn’t a fault of the ECW270 at all, but overall the outside access points are lagging behind the inside options. If you were looking to go all out right now with ECW336 indoor access points you wouldn’t have a comparable option to continue that outside and that doesn’t even factor in the upcoming ECW536 which is WiFi 7.
For pricing the big step up in construction and speed is reflected in the pricing on the EnGenius ECW270 as well. It has an MSRP of $999 which is double the MSRP of the EnGenius ECW260. Consumer or even prosumer buyers may be shocked at that pricing and it is a LOT for an access point. For comparison though, the Cisco Meraki MR86 which is also an enterprise WiFi 6 4x4 outside access point has an MSRP of $2,898.07. For a lot of situations for people already invested in EnGenius Cloud for their infrastructure the ECW260 is going to be more than capable. But if you have a deployment outside that is going to see a lot of users and also requires some of those users to have wired or better performance, the ECW270 is going to get the job done. The improved construction should hold up better and help things run cooler as well.
Live Pricing: HERE