Netgear Releases ProSafe WN203 Single Band Wireless N Access Point


At a Glance:

Netgear-WN203AP

Netgear has recently released the ProSafe WN203 Single Band Wireless N Access Point (it’s an AP, not a router) targeting home & small business users who want to upgrade from Wireless G networks to high-speed Wireless N networks. It’s an affordable access point (MSRP: $145 USD, sells at a lower price at major outlets) but the only limitation maybe that the AP has a single-band radio working at 2.4 Ghz.

Highlights:

  • Model: Netgear ProSafe WN203 Access point
  • MSRP: $145 (USD)
  • Single band, 2.4 Ghz, 300 Mbps (802.11 b/g/n), external antenna option, T x R – 2 x 2
  • POE (Power Over Ethernet) compliant (802.3af)
  • Targeted at: Home, SMB users
  • Multiple SSID for traffic segmentation, VLAN for network segmentation (Ex: One for guest, one for internal)
  • 802.1x, Mac Address Filtering, WPA2, Rogue AP detection – Enterprise-grade security
  • QoS with WMM: Quality of Service for giving preference to real-time traffic like voice, video on the network
  • 1 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet port
  • SNMP + Remote browser management
  • Bridge Mode & Repeat Mode (To extend the network over wireless – AP to AP connections); Simultaneous bridge-client association
  • Wireless Client Mode (To provide Wi-Fi connection to Non-Wi-Fi network devices)
  • Bandwidth management (To prevent a few users from choking the network)
  • Netgear Lifetime Warranty (Except power supply, which is warrantied for 3 years); Basic technical support provided during the first 90 days of purchase

Further Information/Full Specifications: Manufacturer’s web-page.

Should you buy it? 

Netgear is a good and well-known brand. There are obvious advantages like life-time warranty, affordable price-point, security, external antenna option (to boost the signal power), etc. But you should also be mindful of the point that this AP is single-radio only and supports up to 300 Mbps (Many 802.11n AP’s can support up to 450 Mbps, but come at a higher cost).

In certain situations, the bandwidth offered by this Access Point is sufficient (non-dense connectivity regions, etc). This AP might be a good option if you are looking to upgrade from Wireless G to Wireless N in areas that do not have dense user-base (which might call for dual-radio access point with higher bandwidth support). Also note that the more recent Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac (Gigabit wireless standard) is not yet mature for enterprise use.

So, this access point might be an inexpensive intermediary between Wireless G and Wireless AC. But please note that you’ll get 300 Mbps (practically, around half of the advertised bandwidth is achieved) only if your cabling and wired network is upgraded to support 1 Gbps. Otherwise, the speeds will be restricted to 100 Mbps, which might be the max speed offered by the wired network to which the AP needs to be connected.

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