ValuePoint Networks Wireless Hotspot Gateway
May 29, 2003
ValuePoint makes a well-built gateway for use in public wireless LANs that loses points for requiring a separate authentication server even in small venues, but makes up for that just about everywhere else.
Price: $399.00 MSRP
ValuePoint Networks' HG-2000 is a wireless hotspot gateway that's designed for companies deploying wireless LANs for public use. The HG-2000 hardware is equipped with an 802.11b radio interface that meets Wi-Fi-compliancy requirements, one 10/100BaseT WAN port, and four 10/100BaseT LAN ports. The gateway includes software that hosts the features that you'll need for deploying effective public wireless LANs. The relatively low price of the HG-2000 makes it within reach of most hotspot venues.
Products that cost less generally do not provide adequate functionality and performance necessary for more complex systems, such as public and enterprise wireless LANs. The HG-2000, though, is a shining example of a gateway with suitable features at an affordable price. This makes it a worthy product for deploying public wireless LAN access in situations where there are many smaller venues, such as coffee shops and fast food restaurants, which are part a larger system.
The only other possible con to consider with this product is that ValuePoint is a relatively new company without much of a proven record with large deployments. Initial testing of the product, however, indicates that the HG-2000 is certainly worth consideration. Furthermore, the ValuePoint development team has extensive experience in the wireless network industry drawn from other companies, such as Cisco, Compaq, and others.
The installation of the HG-2000 is straightforward. I found that the setup screens were simple to follow and configurations were made easily. This is important, especially when needing to deploy several units in numerous locations that fold into a larger public venue.
On the other hand, the installation and setup of the RADIUS-based authentication server is more complex and requires some background and experience in applicable technologies. Of course the authentication server, however, will be part of a complete wireless network architecture design. If that portion of the system is designed well, then the configuration of the RADIUS interface within the HG-2000 will be rather easy.
All-in-all, the HG-2000 is a well-built gateway for use in public wireless LANs. Definitely consider including this product in applicable solutions, such as larger public wireless LANs.