Compex WavePort WP11 Access Point

By Eric Griffith

November 28, 2001

Remember when we reviewed the Compex C-Kit 811WL and WLU11 USB adapter and said "if you want more, wait to get an access point"? Here's Compex's WavePort AP, ready and able to hook wireless clients into your wired network. But again, novices need not apply.

Model: WP11 -- MSRP $249.95

Compex WP11

The WP11 is part of Compex's WavePort family of wireless products, along with the C-Kit 811WL, and it is exactly what you'd expect: a straight-forward, access point (AP) that will bridge your wired LAN with 802.11b wireless clients when you plug it into your hub or switch. The sci-fi-esque looking unit can sit on a shelf with antennas up or be mounted to a wall with antennas parallel to the wall surface, your choice.

Pros:

Mounting options
DHCP support
Three year warranty
MAC-based access control

Cons:

Confusing software utility
Not very good for a new wireless network


Want to talk about it? Use the Forums.

Product Stats

View a summary of the WavePort WP11's capabilities.

Setup

Hardware setup is simple: plug the power in, and connect the WP11 to your hub or switch with an Ethernet patch cord. You then need to setup the Compex AP Manager software (used instead of Web-based administration) on a PC also attached to the hub or switch.

The AP Manager software will show you the current settings on the PC
If you've got a DHCP server, you're probably all set: the WP11 should pull an IP address down for automatic set up in the Build from Network Wizard. If not, you've got some work to do.

Click Add Manually and you specify the WP11 by its MAC address and assign it an IP address. After that, click Rescan Network and the WP11 should be sensed immediately. You can then manually enter an SSID for the WP11 (which it needs to share with all of the 802.11b clients that will access it).


Commit By the time you finish, you'll Commit to Access Points, which will display a "1" to show successful setup.

You can change any of these settings in the main AP Manager screen, including setting up the security features (see below).


Basic Features

What the WP11 can do boils down a lot to the AP Manager software, which is really for centrally managing multiple APs in a network. It's definitely not geared toward anyone getting into networking for the first time. You can even use it to set up access control based on MAC addresses, on top of the 64-bit WEP key encryption.

Wireless Performance

The following shows testing results using Qcheck. Testing was with the WavePort WP11 access point talking to a WavePort WL11 PC Card in a Windows 98 laptop, but even with the same manufacturer as the client and a reported "effective throughput" of 7.5Mbps, performance wasn't anything but average

AP Manager Version:

3.0.0.14

Test Description

Qcheck Transfer Rate (Mbps)

[1MB data size]

Qcheck Response Time (msec)
[10 iterations 100byte data size]

Qcheck UDP stream 
[10 seconds at 500Kbps]

(Actual throughput- kbps)

(Lost data- %)

AP to Client - Condition 1

3.6

4 (avg)
5 (max)

313

 0%

AP to Client - Condition 2

3.6

4 (avg)
5 (max)

318

0%

AP to Client - Condition 3

3.6

4 (avg)
6 (max)

316

0%

AP to Client - Condition 4

3.1

5 (avg)
7 (max)

305

0%

Note on conditions: For each of the four conditions, the Qcheck suite of tests is run between the wireless client and the Ethernet client.

  • Condition #1: AP and wireless client in same room, approximately 10 feet apart.
  • Condition #2: Client in upper floor room directly above AP, approximately 15 feet apart. No metal ductwork between AP and client.
  • Condition #3: Client on same floor as AP but in another room approximately 50 feet away. Walls, but no metal ductwork between the client and AP antennas.
  • Condition #4: Client on upper floor at opposite end of residence, approximately 55 feet away. Walls, floor, and probable metal ductwork between AP and client.

Summary

If you know your way around a network and want to add some wireless users, the WP11 is a good and relatively inexpensive solution, but it could be easier. But with a three year warranty, you'll have some time to work out the bugs.


Want to talk about problems with the product? Use the Forums.



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