Access Point Placement Best Practices : Hotels, MDUs & Classrooms

Yes, it’s true that installing wireless access points is often easier than installing them in individual hotel guest rooms, multi-dwelling units (MDUs) including student and military housing, apartments and condominiums, retirement and assisted living residences, and classrooms.

Many hallways feature drop ceilings, making cabling and installation a snap. Even when there are finished ceilings present, cabling soffits or access panels are often already in place or are reasonably easy to install, making wiring possible. If low-voltage infrastructure, such as a spare CAT5e/CAT6a cable is not already available in each unit, cabling the units can be impractical or cost-prohibitive.

However, from a performance standpoint, putting access points in line-of-sight of each other down a hallway is often the worst thing you can do for the following reasons:

1. Attenuation: The inside wall adjacent to the hallway tends to have high attenuation. Why? Most hotel guest rooms and MDUs outside walls are made up of large windows, while the inside walls tend to be where the metal appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens are located. You’ll often also find full wall mirrors, bathroom plumbing, and steel fire doors in hotel guest rooms.

All of these obstructions interfere with wireless signal penetration. It is not uncommon to see much better signal penetration through the floor and ceiling than from the hallway into the unit.

2. Self-Interference: A long, thin corridor acts as a tunnel for Wi-Fi signals, focusing the signal and making it extend much further than it will laterally into the units. Even with the access points on different channels, there is always some level of adjacent channel interference. When APs installed in halls are all lined up, they’ll cause interference with each other; the heavier the traffic load, the more interference.

It’s for these reasons that it’s almost always better to install APs in individual hotel guest rooms, apartments, dorm rooms, and classrooms.


In-Room Wi-Fi Options

Wall Plate APs

Except for new builds, you’ll often find pre-wired, low-voltage network wiring is available in hotel guest rooms, dorms, and other multi-tenant dwellings. Pre-existing wiring creates the perfect scenario for using wall plate APs to provide reliable in-room Wi-Fi to guests and residents. Wall Plate APs bypass the performance concerns of placing APs in hallways, bringing the coverage right where users need it most–in the unit itself.

EnGenius’ new Neutron 11ac Wave 2 Wall Plate AP (EWS550AP) integrates a high-speed AP and a 3-port Gigabit switch, merging wireless, wired, and Power-over-Ethernet features for in- room connectivity. You can use the wall plate AP’s Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect various wired devices including IPTVs and game consoles in hotel guest rooms or dorms and networked projectors in classrooms. The AP includes a wired pass-through port to connect a room phone to the hotel or school PBX system or connect and power a VoIP phone using the PoE-pass-through LAN port. The wall plate AP is also powered through an 802.3af/at- compliant PoE switch. The onboard switch allows you to segment and manage network traffic by type with its port-based 802.1Q VLAN support.


Building an outdoor network in a tough environment? Make sure the access points that you choose can handle the harsh demands of an outdoor environment.

One major consideration in deciding which products to use is their IP (Ingress Protection) rating. By knowing the product’s IP rating, you know whether your chosen access points can take the specific demands of your environment.

So, what exactly does an IP rating mean?


Understanding an IP Rating

Ingress means “the action of going in or entering.” For example, an ingress of dust means roughly that the product is “dust-tight.”

In IP ratings, the first number is how the materials resist solid objects getting into the housing; and the second number rates how well the device keeps water away from critical device components.

For example, an IP of 65 means it is “dust tight” and protected against jets of water. IP66 means it’s protected against strong jets of water and also dust-tight. IP67 means dust-tight and against the effects of immersion between 15 cm and 1 m. An IP68 is for dust-tight and protection against long periods of immersion under pressure.

To decide what type of rating your desired device should have, keep in mind the factors of that environment.

When you think of environment, you may immediately consider its temperature first.



Extreme Heat
High temperatures can also affect your Internet connection. Heat can affect the access point by causing the expansion of the hardware. It also can melt the casing if it hasn’t been designed for high temperatures.

Extreme Cold
Likewise, extreme cold can alter the reliability of your wireless connection. The hardware can freeze. Or if the access point has ice covering it, you have to manually chip off the icing, and even then, you’re not guaranteed that the access point will work once again.


Not Just About the Temperature

When you think of a harsh environment, you may think of blistering heat or teeth-chattering cold. However, a tough environment is any that has great wear and tear on your access point.

For example, dust, water, and high winds can significantly affect your access point (and thereby, your signal).

When you place an access point in a dusty environment, such as construction sites or factories, you run the risk of causing the scattering of Wi-Fi signals. That means that the Wi-Fi signals will go in all different directions rather than solely in the desired direction.

If water enters an antenna, the RF path’s quality can be compromised. Areas in which there are constant rains, extreme humidity, snowstorms, or fog need access points that can tackle those risks. Water can infiltrate the access points, affect the connectors and transmission lines, and cause mechanical issues.

Moreover, water can refract waves, so it can affect the reliability of the connection.

Rain may also cause attenuation of point-to-point links. If the access point is in an environment where tropical rains are constant or one of high humidity, attenuation values up to 30 dB are possible.


An Access Point That Excels in Tough Environments

Now that you know the value of an IP rating for access point and what to keep in mind when picking out an access point for your outdoor network, consider our EnGenius wireless outdoor access point.

The EnGenius ENH1350EXT combines a ruggedized IP67-rated enclosure with 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless speeds up to 1,300 Mbps. Plus, a GigE PoE-compatible port makes for easy placement where power outlets are scare.

1. Go to VPN Connection Properties on Windows 7, and click on "Security".

2. Select L2TP/IPSec for the VPN Type, and click on "Advance".

3. Select Use preshared key for authentication, and click "OK".

Windows 7 VPN Setup Wizard does not ask for the shared key when doing the setup. You need to manually input the shared key under the VPN properties. Without the shared key the VPN client wouldn’t be able to connect since our routers requires a shared key when configured for L2TP over IPSec.

RSSI stands for Received Signal Strength Indicator. It is an estimated measure of power level that a RF client device is receiving from an access point or router.

At larger distances, the signal gets weaker and the wireless data rates get slower, leading to a lower overall data throughput. Signal is measured by the receive signal strength indicator (RSSI), which in most cases indicates how well a particular radio can hear the remote connected client radios. For point-to-(multi)point applications, the optimal RSSI on each end of the wireless link is between -48 dBm and -65 dBm to achieve the highest possible data rates.

  • The best practice is to pre-configure the radios with a transmit power of 15 dBm and validate that a link is properly established (which serves to validate security and MAC address settings as well). Once the access points are physically mounted in place, look at the RSSI readings on each radio and adjust the transmit power settings on each side of the link up or down to get the RSSI to within the -48 dBm to -65 dBm range.
  • If the signal strength is greater than -35 dBm (typical for wireless links under 50 feet), then the electronic amplifiers get saturated because the signal is too strong, which degrades throughput performance. In such scenarios, turning down the power to minimum (11 dBm) may be insufficient, and if so we recommend purposely misaligning the antennas.
  • If the signal strength is less than -75 dBm (typical for very long distance shots over 4 miles), it may be difficult to sustain a link reliably or to achieve high throughputs, especially in the presence of external interference. For long distance shots, EnGenius recommends using laser tooling to optimize the antenna alignment so as to maximize the signal.

Desired RSSI:    -40 dBm to -50 dBm
Usable RSSI:    -35 dBm to -70 dBm
Above -35 dBm: Signal is too strong, saturated amplifiers
Below -70 dBm: Signal is too weak, subject to external interference

Visualize your projects RSSI through the subscription-free network design tool, ezWiFi Planner.  Try it now to measure your projects WDS bridge connectivity and projected coverage.

When Access Points are in AP Groups, You can only select one specific setting that will apply to all Access Points in the AP Groups

To override the wireless settings:

Login to ezMaster or Neutron Controller

Go to Device Management and select Access Points.

Click the Device Name of the Access Point that you would like to override the wireless settings.

Go to Wireless Radio Settings

Here, you can override the wireless settings of an Access Point. (i.e. Wireless Mode, Channel HT Mode, Extension Channel, Channel, Transmit Power, Client Limits, and Data Rate)

If you need to change additional items that are not available here, such as adding an additional SSID that is unique to a particular AP, then you will first need to remove the AP from its associated AP Group.   Once the AP is removed, it will retain all of the settings inherited from the AP Group, but the AP is now set up for individual configuration through the Neutron controller or ezMaster, and all settings on that individual AP can be altered as needed.

From the AP's web user interface, select 'Management'. Under Controller Settings, fill in the IP Address of the ezMaster server you wish to redirect to AP to. The 'Test' button can be used to test whether the AP can successfully connect with the ezMaster server. Click on 'Apply' to save your settings.

In order to manage remote device using ezMaster, you must first register ezMaster to the ezRegistration server. You may skip this step if you are managing only local devices or if you are manually redirecting each AP to ezMaster.

1. In the ezMaster user interface, click on the Global Settings menu.

2. Under Admin Account, fill in the fields and click Apply to register your ezMaster to the ezRegistration server. Take note that a valid email address is required for you to unregister your devices in the event of ezMaster server failure.

Subnetting is dividing one network into one or more logical networks. Having a single network is fine but if the capacity gets bigger there would be limitations and disadvantages. The topic below will tell us why it is important to have subnets in a network. 

Yes. Power over ethernet (POE) will only power the unit so long as there is enough voltage to power the unit at the end of the cable run.

The maximum distance you can power a device will vary depending on the access point and its voltage required, as well as the voltage provided by the power supply, and the quality of the cable. Cat6 cable is recommended for long POE runs.

For passive POE you should use a 24V power supply. 24V passive POE will power an OM series AP up to about 50 meters or 100-150 feet.

802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards have a distance limit of 100 meters or 328ft which is also the limit for the data transmission for Ethernet cables. 

Figure 1: EPE-24R proprietary 24V/1A PoE injector

Figure 2: EPA5006GAT 802.3af/at PoE injector

In this setup guide, a wireless network topology using the Mesh feature of the EnGenius® Neutron system. The example presented here will have three EWS1205CAMs linked together via mesh, as shown in the figure below. Note, in order for mesh to be available, the Neutron controller switch firmware must be version c1.8.57 or later, or version 0.12.8 or later on ezMasterTM.

In this topology of the mesh domain, the two Remote Nodes are each one hop away from the Root Node. The bandwidth requirment per EWS1025CAM camera (using H.264, 1080P, 30 fps) is approximately 5-6 Mbps. EnGenius® does not recommend having a Remote Node farther than three hops from the RootNode. In the above example, we have the Root Node labeled as,  “root” , and the two Remote Nodes labeled as “nonroot1” and “nonroot2”.

Prior to adding APs and defining AP Groups, designate the band to enable mesh on, and establish the key parameters such as the numerical mesh domain (Mesh ID) and password to join the mesh domain.  Set an appropriate threshold, so that a mesh link to a Remote Node will not be established if the RSSI reading is below the threshold. These settings are found under Controller>Mesh>Mesh Profile.   This setting is global to the Neutron Controller Switch, and will be common amongst all AP Groups that have mesh enabled.

Best Practice:  The network design should cluster the APs into groups consisting of up to four Remote Nodes that are only one hop away from a Root Node.  Thus, at least 20% of your APs, distributed roughly evenly throughout the property, should be Root Nodes.  Each Remote Node is therefore nominally only one hop away from a Root Node. In the event of a failure of a Root Node, the nearby Remote Nodes will then only be 2-3 hops away from another Root Node.  This approach generally requires creating additional Root Nodes, which can be done either by running Ethernet or fiber-optic cable to the remote locations, or by establishing dedicated point-to-(multi)point WDS Bridge links to create “wireless wires” from the root AP back to the wired network.

In mesh environments with multiple Root Nodes, mesh clusters can be established by creating a unique AP Group per mesh cluster.  Thus, each AP Group shall contain one Root Node and the desired Remote Nodes that should nominally be connecting to it.  The settings of each AP Group are identical, except for the channel.  Each AP Group needs to be on an independent channel to ensure that neighboring mesh clusters do not self-interfere.

Creating an AP Group / Mesh ClusterConnect the Root Node to the Neutron Controller Switch, and then add the Root Node in the same manner as any wired Neutron access point. In order for the mesh feature to be enabled, the Root Node must be in a dedicated AP Group with the mesh feature enabled. All APs that are part of the same mesh cluster need to be placed in the same AP Group. 

Add the Root Node to the Neutron Controller Switch (e.g EWS1025CAM), to be managed by the controller, just as is done with any wired Neutron access point.

Add the detected Rood Node, and then assign the unit a static IP address or let the unit get an IP address via DHCP.

After adding the AP to the Neutron Controller Switch, EnGenius® recommends that the device be named by its location with a “root” or similar at the end, to aid in the identification of the AP once all mesh APs are managed by the Neutron Controller Switch. This is done by clicking the current device name under the column device name.

The AP name change should now be reflected under the “Device Name” column.

Once the Root Node is online, create an AP Group to add all the devices that are going to be in the mesh cluster. This will enable all of the mesh APs to be easily managed from the controller.

The AP Group setting is found under Controller→Device Management→AP Groups. Click the “Add” button to create a new group for all the mesh APs that shall be in the mesh cluster.

Name the newly created group and add the Root Node to the group.

Once added to the AP Group, verify the appropriate Radio Settings. Make sure the Country is appropriate for the regulatory domain the wireless system is deployed in.

In order for mesh to be enabled without any errors, especially on the 5GHz band, the following items much match:

  • Channel HT Mode
  • Channel Number
  • Transmit Power

We recommend that mesh deployment be in the 5 GHz band when possible, using either 40 MHz or 80 MHz channels.1 For the 2.4 GHz band, it is best practice to use 20 MHz channel HT mode of 20 MHz, lowest transmit power, and a static non-overlapping channel of either 1, 6, or 11 for the 2.4 GHz radio. This should be set individually on each AP to ensure alternating channels.

Best Practice:  Each Root Node should be set on a static independent channel, and each Remote Node should be set to “auto channel”.2  This is done to maximize the airtime capacity of the overall network, so that multiple neighboring Root Nodes do not create self-interference.  The Remote Nodes are set to auto-channel so that they can fail over to a different Root Nodes in the event of the failure of their primary

[1] In the c1.8.57 firmware release, only 20 MHz or 40 MHz channels in the UNII-1 (36-48) and UNII-3 (149-161) portions of the 5 GHz band are supported.  This will be addressed in a future firmware release.

[2] In the c1.8.57 firmware release, auto-channel is not supported for APs in mesh mode.  Accordingly, each AP Group needs to have all APs in that mesh cluster set to a static and non-overlapping channel.   This will be addressed in a future firmware release.

Root Node.  When utilizing point-to-(multi)point WDS Bridge links to establish Root Nodes, these must also be on static independent channels, and thus must be accounted for in the overall channelization plan. 

After setting up the Radio settings in the AP Group and setting up the 2.4 GHz radio with one (or more) SSIDs for client access, the next step is to enable the mesh setting to desginate the AP Group as utilizing mesh.  This is found under the Advanced Setings tab. Enabling the  Mesh option in the group setting will desginate the current device in the group as the Root Node.

Best Practice:  Mesh APs should generally be configured to operate in Mesh Point mode.3 The loss of bandwidth capacity from lacking wireless 5 GHz wireless connectivity is minor compared to the loss of bandwidth capacity from losing 50% of bandwidth per hop.  This also allows for the transmit power of the mesh radios to be set at their maximum value, so as to provide the maximum signal strength between nodes without being imbalanced with the low transmit power capability of most 5 GHz client devices.

Hit “Apply” to save the AP Group settings.

The lights of the Root Node should be as shown below. Only Root Nodes (i.e. nodes with a “wired connection” to the network) will have the LAN light illuminated.

3. In the c1.8.57 firmware release, this option is not available in the AP Group setting, and must be set by logging into the access point directly.  This will be addressed in a future firmware release.

Repeat this process for all other Root Nodes on your network, placing them in separate AP Groups.    For the Root Node(s), click on the AP under the “Access Point” screen and override the settings to set a static and non-overlapping channel for each Root Node.

When configuring a new mesh network, the Remote Nodes should initially be wired into the controller like any wired Neutron AP, added to the controller, and added to the correct AP Group.  The channel for the mesh radio (typically 5 GHz) should be left on “Auto”, though do remember to set the appropriate static channel on the Wi-Fi client access band (typically 2.4 GHz). Once the Remote Node APs are fully provisioned and part of the AP Group, they can be disconnected from the controller and installed in the remote location.  Once the Remote Node APs are powered up at the remote locations, they will automatically attempt to connect via mesh.

Adding a Remote Node to an Existing Mesh Network

If Remote Node APs are already installed before they are configured, or if a Remote Node AP needs to be added to the network but access to the wired network core is not practical, then the following steps can be followed to add a Remote Node to the network. 

Login to the Remote Node directly. The AP by default will be in standalone mode, and can be accessed via the username “admin” and the password “admin. Once logged in, the AP will ask for the login password to be changed as well as to create a guest account. Since this AP will ultimately be added to the same AP Group, group it is recommended to skip this step by pressing the skip button.

After pressing the skip button the device will redirect to the live video feed page (for the Neutron cameras) or to the device status screen (for Neutron APs). Click on the settings icon to be redirected to the settings page.

The only settings that are needed for the Remote Node AP to connect to the Root Node AP is the appropriate band that mesh is enabled on, the proper wireless channel, and specifying the correct Mesh ID and password.

Under Access Point→Mesh→Settings is where the mesh settings are configured for the device. The Remote Node will be configured as a Mesh Point. It is imperative that the Mesh ID and Password match the Root Node, in order for the Remote Node to be properly associated and authenticated within the Root Node’s mesh domain.

Best Practice:  Mesh APs should generally be configured to operate in Mesh Point mode.  The loss of bandwidth capacity from lacking wireless 5 GHz wireless connectivity is minor compared to the loss of bandwidth capacity from losing 50% of bandwidth per hop.  This also allows for the transmit power of the mesh radios to be set at their maximum value, so as to provide the maximum signal strength between nodes without being imbalanced with the low transmit power capability of most 5 GHz client devices.

After applying the settings, the device reminds the installer to ensure that the unit is configured to be operating on the same wireless channel as the Root Node, in order to establish a mesh connection.

The wireless settings of the device can be configured under Access Point>Network>Wireless. Ensure the Remote Node is configured to operate on “auto” so that it will automatically detect and associate to the closet mesh node.4

The name of the device may also be set under the wireless settings page. It is recommended that the name be configured under the wireless settings page, while the device is still in standalone mode so it would be easier to identify once the device is added to the Neutron Controller Switch to place the device in managed mode. The name of the AP should correspond to its location on the network.

The figure below shows the lights on the Remote Node AP. Note that since this unit does not have a wired connection to the network the LAN light is not illuminated like the Root Node would have.

[4] In the c1.8.57 firmware release, auto-channel is not supported for APs in mesh mode.  Accordingly, set the channel to correspond to the static channel of the desired Root Node.

Once the Remote Node has established a mesh connection with a Root Node, the Neutron Controller Switch will detect the Remote Node and display that it has been detected. Notice the name of the AP shall match the name of the Remote Node configured earlier.  Add the Remote Node and configure it to be managed by the Neutron Controller Switch. 

After the newly added unit displays Online status, add the Remote Node to the same AP Group as the Root Node under Controller→Device Management→AP Groups.

Add the Remote Node to the same AP Group as the Root Node.

Once the newly added Remote Node is displaying Online status, change the local non-mesh radio settings.

By clicking on the device name. Under the Wireless Radio Settings, check the box Override group to decouple that particular setting from the AP Group settings. In order to avoid co-channel interference on the 2.4 GHz radio side, set the APs to all have unique static non-overlapping 2.4 GHz channels of either 1, 6, or 11.

The status of the mesh links can be checked under Controller>Mesh>Node List. As seen below, the Remote Node with the name of EWS1025CAM-nonroot2 is two hops away. As a reminder, EnGenius® does not recommend any Remote Node to be greater than three hops from the main Root Node.

In order to see the Mesh topology in a more visual way, use the Mesh view under Controller> Visualization>Mesh View.

The above view shows when both the Remote Nodes can communicate directly with the Root Node.

Here is the topology with two hops, where the second Remote Node does not have a direct mesh connection to the Root Node, and thus must connect to another Remote Node.

Below is when only one Remote Node is able to connect to the Root Node.

Here is the same topology view, if logged into the 1025CAM UI under Mesh Link→Link Status.

It is recommended that the maximum hop count be no more than three hops due to the amount of throughput degradation and latency increase that each hop introduces. As seen in the throughput test found under Controller→Mesh→Mesh Tools→Throughput.

The same test can be done while when logged into the UI of the 1025CAM under Mesh Link→Throughput.

The EAP1300 supports the L2 isolation feature when configured as either a stand-alone AP and also when managed by a Neutron switch or ezMaster.

When L2 isolation is enabled, it prevents client devices connected to the same SSID across different AP from inter-communicating.  Always use for public / semi-public networks. Recommended for security and device networks unless intercommunication is required.

EAP1300 managed by a Neutron EWS5912FP switch:

EAP1300 as stand-alone AP:

The EAP1300 also supports the L2 isolation feature when managed by a Neutron switch or ezMaster.

Link aggregation is a feature available in managed switches to have multiple physical ports act as a single virtual port with the aggregated capacity of all of the physical ports. It is commonly deployed for backhaul between the MDF and IDF(s) in networks requiring very high local data capacity, such as when using storage area networks (SANs) or in networks consisting of several surveillance IP cameras streaming data to a network video recorder (NVR) or in the MDF. An example application is shown in Figure 1. An aggregated link can also serve to provide redundancy (at reduced capacity) in case one of the connections should be broken.

Figure 1: Example of Link Aggregation to connect a switch to a storage area network (SAN).


On any EnGenius switch, a link aggregation group (LAG) can be established under L2 Features   Link Aggregation   Port Trunking, as shown in Figure 2. Up to eight link aggregation groups can be defined on a particular switch, and are referred to as “trunk groups” with port numbers t1 – t8. A physical port can be a member of only one trunk group. The ports that make up a group need not be sequential, though it is often convenient to use sequential ports from a wiring perspective. There is also no limit as to how many physical ports can be aggregated into a single group, until one physically runs out of ports on the switch.

There are two modes defined for establishing a trunk group. In “static” mode, the ports are always considered part of the trunk group, and the switch will always load balance outbound traffic on the trunk port across all of the physical ports. In “LACP” mode, the switch uses Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) to periodically verify that each physical link is established end-to-end, so LACP must be running on both sides of the link (i.e. both switches connected via an aggregated link). It is best practice to use LACP mode to establish an aggregated link between two switches.

Figure 2: Setting up a link aggregation group on an EnGenius managed switch.

A non-PoE switch is a switch that provides network connectivity only, and does not supply DC power to connected devices. These switches are suitable when there are a large number of non-powered network devices on the network, such as PCs and laptops. Such switches are commonly deployed in offices, as well as in hotels, student housing, assisted living, and other multi-dwelling unit (MDU) environments where there is a wired Ethernet wall jack in each unit.

Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches provide both DC power and data connectivity over a single Ethernet wire. These are extremely useful for connecting powered network devices to a network, as only one cable needs to be run to the device, as opposed to separate cables for data and for power. Per the IEEE standards, switches are able to detect whether a connected device is powered or not, and will therefore only provide power to devices that are not being powered by an alternate power connection. When using managed Power-over-Ethernet switches, the connected device can also be rebooted remotely by turning off and on the power on the Ethernet port, which is very useful when doing network troubleshooting.

A PoE switch conforms to the IEEE 802.3af standard, which provides 48V up to 15.4 W per port. PoE (802.3af) is sufficient for powering older generation access points (i.e. pre-802.11ac) and for most other powered network devices, such as IP cameras, VoIP phones, access control locks, etc.

A PoE+ switch conforms to the IEEE 802.3at standard, which provides 48V up to 30 W per port. PoE+ (802.3at) is required for 802.11ac access points because of the large number of radio chains required for MIMO and MU-MIMO.

It is best practice to not fully load a PoE (802.3af) or PoE+ (802.3at) switch, to ensure that the total power budget of the switch is not exceeded. EnGenius generally recommends a “3/4 rule”, meaning that a network design should plan on only using ¾ of the ports for powered network devices, as follows, with remaining ports being reserved for non-powered network devices, backhaul to other infrastructure (e.g. other switches or routers), or spares:

  • 8 port PoE/PoE+: Only 6 ports should be used for powered network devices
  • 24 port PoE+: Only 18 ports should be used for powered network devices
  • 48 port PoE+: Only 36 ports should be used for powered network devices

Most PoE and PoE+ switch models come with some non-PoE ports for backhaul, consisting of either Ethernet ports and/or SFP ports (for mini-GBIC fiber modules). On EnGenius switches, any standard third party SFP module (1 Gbps) can be used. For a detailed explanation of SFP modules, please read the blog.

An unmanaged switch maintains its database but is inaccessible via any interface (e.g. web, CLI, SNMP, etc.). It is simply present on the network to route frames to appropriate ports. Unmanaged switches are also incapable of handling any type of advanced Layer 2 features, including VLANs.

A managed switch has a full set of OSI Layer 2 features used for managing the wired traffic on a network. It is addressable via an IP address and can generally be accessed via both a web interface (e.g. http or https) and a CLI (e.g. telnet or SSH). Managed switches are capable of supporting a long list of industry- standard OSI Layer 2 features, including but not limited to the following:

  • VLANs
  • Viewable dynamic MAC address table (i.e. the switch port database)
  • Link Aggregation with Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP)
  • Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • SNMP
  • Logging (local and remote)
  • Port mirroring
  • Cable and other diagnostics

A smart switch is a limited managed switch, which is typically less expensive than a managed switch but also typically only supports a subset of features found on a managed switch. Smart switches will typically only have a web interface and support a limited set of VLANs.  However, unlike managed switches, there is no industry standard for the term “smart switch”, and what constitutes a “smart switch” can vary widely both between vendors and between different switch models from the same vendor.

It is best practice to use managed switches on the LAN side of a network. This ensures that the full set of OSI Layer 2 features are available, and to facilitate troubleshooting by enabling network devices can be monitored and managed remotely.  Unmanaged switches should generally be avoided.

Every model of network switch currently manufactured and sold by EnGenius is a full managed switch with all of the industry-standard OSI Layer 2 features available.

In the early days of networking, wired Ethernet network devices were interconnected through a device called a “hub”, where a wired frame would come in on one port and be broadcast out to all other ports. While relatively simple, this technology caused a lot of noise and consumed a lot of excess capacity on wired networks, as all messages were broadcast to all devices connected to a hub, regardless of their intended destination.

With network switches, each switch port creates a point-to-point link with the device it is connected to. The network switch maintains a database of MAC addresses indicating what devices are connected on individual ports. When a frame enters the switch on a particular port, the switch examines the source MAC address and destination MAC address. The source MAC address is used to update the database to indicate that the client is accessible on that port. If the destination MAC address is already in the database as being connected to a different switch port, the frame is only forwarded out along the indicated port. If the destination MAC address is not in the database, or if is a broadcast message (e.g. DHCP request), the packet is sent out all other ports as is done in a hub.

Reason why there are 2 waves for 802.11AC:

The IEEE 802.11ac standard was introduced to the market in a series of “waves” (releases) of new products and technology. The reason is that the capabilities in 802.11ac are numerous, and delivering them in waves allows the industry to take advantage of many without having to wait for all capabilities to be available.

Note: EnGenius 802.11AC Wave 2 Access Points do not support 160MHz Channel Bandwidth

Assess, Analyze & Optimize Your Wireless Networks

With wireless technology constantly changing, wireless network design is imperative.  The intuitive web-based network design tool, ezWiFi Planner, allows you to easily plan for your indoor and outdoor wireless deployments.  Start designing your wireless projects using the license-free software by logging into the partner portal.

Start your projects by uploading your site floor plans and set your scale to accurately plan AP distribution and placement.  The tools algorithm will auto place devices and will intuitively set your channels to the location of your project to adhere to country standards. Finish off your design with easy reporting you can export and customize to meet your clients needs.

Features of the ezWiFi Planner:

  • Upload your floor plan and set your scale to plan your project sites to kickstart planning
  • Design for indoor and outdoor projects 
  • Draw Wi-Fi coverage areas and any site obstacles
  • ezWiFi Planner algorithm will accurately place devices throughout your project to accommodate coverage and output needs identified
  • Auto channelize your project
  • Add multiple product models and optimize your site 
  • Heat map coverage for visualization of projects
  • Inventory reports to showcase devices deployed in project as well as device settings for easy deployment
  • Customizable reporting for easy proposals to customers
  • Reporting includes site floor plan overview, inventory lists, channelization, heat map coverage and WDS coverage.
  • Take your plan and put it to action! With the floor plan overview you can easily import to ezMaster software for easy configuration for your deployments as well as future management.

Design your indoor projects and visualize with heat map coverage.  Plan multiple floor plans / levels within a single project design.

Need to connect multiple buildings?  The WDS bridge algorithm within the tool will allow you to design P2P project sites for accurate coverage and device placement.

Ensure coverage where you need it!  With optional external antennas, the tool will design and plan for both device and antenna settings and project needs.  Know the best devices and placement of your devices through designing your projects to increase efficiencies on deployment!

Check out all of the features of the ezWiFi Planner and Try it Now!

Within the ezWiFi Planner you have access to expert support from EnGenius as well as step-by-step instructions on all product features.

Yes. It can provide 802.3af power to a device form its secondary LAN port, so long as the included PoE injector is used to power up the EnStationAC.

Saving and applying settings is a 3-step procedure:

1. Click on SAVE after making the settings changes.


2. Click on the CHANGES button located at the top portion of the graphical user interface (GUI) which will take you to a list of the settings changes.


3. Click on the APPLY button to finally save the settings.


This allows consolidation of changes to be applied on the AP, minimizing downtime.

All EnGenius Electron and Neutron Series Dual-Band access points.

RSSI Threshold allows the AP to kick a wireless client when it goes below the set RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) value. This prevents a common issue wherein a client device is still connected on an AP further away, displaying low signal status, even when the device is closer to another AP.

E.g. RSSI Threshold set to -75 dBm. When the client's RSSI drops to -76 dBm as it moves further away from the connected AP, the AP will kick the client to allow it to connect to another AP with better signal quality.

Layer 2 Isolation prevents communication between wired and wireless clients in the network. 

This prevents communication between wireless or wired subscribers even when they are on the same subnet.

When an installation of a wireless point to point bridge is designed and installed, it is generally thought that line of sight is required, but there is also a requirement for clearance of what is known as the Fresnel Zone. Mount the antennas/APs 4-8 ft. above roof/trees between the locations. 



For more information about Fresnel Zone, please go to this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_zone

The band steering feature encourages dual-band-capable clients to stay on the 5 GHz band on dual-band APs. This ability frees up resources on the 2.4 GHz band for single-band clients.

Dual-band capable wireless clients may see even greater bandwidth improvements because the band steering feature automatically selects between 80MHz, 40 MHz or 20 MHz channels in 802.11n networks.

Band steering should work with and without local probe response enabled. The Access Point has the logic to "hide" from 5GHz-capable clients that are asking to connect on the 2.4GHz band. However, if local probe responses are disabled, allowing persistent 2.4GHz clients to associate on 2.4GHz bands even after being identified as 5GHz may not work.

Essentially this is where the access point hears a request from a client device to associate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and steers the client by responding only to the 5GHz association request and not the 2.4 GHz request. It reduces co-channel interference and frees up 2.4GHz, creating a better overall distribution of users for bandwidth availability.


Steering Modes:


  • Prefer-5GHz
  • Force-5GHz
  • Band Balance