Engenius ECW230 (Wifi6 4x4 AP) - $125

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bvd

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Listed at $150, seller accepted $125 each for 2 of em (2 for $250). I needed a couple more of these for my parents house, as their network's grown to the point that the ECW120's I've got installed there are having difficulty keeping up (...my sister and her family moving in might've had something to do with that...).

These are excellent AP's IMO. I'm all in on engenius at this point, the amount of time and money it's saved me just in being able to remotely troubleshoot when the in-law's or my parents call to say 'the internet's down on my phone' has paid for themselves multiple times over lol. I've written a little about it on the forum here actually as well.

For those not aware - yes, these are cloud managed. However, they have a 'free tier' license that allows you to do all your normal network management stuff (vlans, up to 8 SSID's, etc etc). It's things like remote diagnostics, packet capture via web, stuff like that that's under the paid license. It's something like ~$120 for a five year license, or ~160 for a 7 year though regardless (as long as you shop around).
 

elvisimprsntr

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I have 2 x EWS377APv3 (4x4) and 2 x EWS357APv3 (2x2), which are the non-cloud versions. Engenius is the most bang for the $.

I set up pfSense with Tailscale at my father's place, so I can remotely manage his network.
 
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bvd

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I have 2 x EWS377APv3 (4x4) and 2 x EWS357APv3 (2x2), which are the non-cloud versions. Engenius is the most bang for the $.

I set up pfSense with Tailscale at my father's place, so I can remotely manage his network.
I haven't touched ezMaster since I went to the cloud managed line-up, but did they ever add the signal/roaming information to that management system? It's been my most used troubleshooting component, as it seems each device has it's own ideas as to how roaming and band association is supposed to be handled - friggin iOS devices man, ugh. The way that I can see everything a network related action a device has both taken itself and been directed to take (AP handoff, band steering, initial association) from a single page has made life *INFINITELY* more simplified than back when I had to comb log lines across each AP querying MAC strings. If they had that in ezM, I probably never would've looked at the cloud line.

It kinda seems like they've slowed down hardware releases for the fully locally managed APs - no 6E there for instance. I hope that's just because the big enterprises running thousands of them have no need for 6E (which would make some sense honestly), and not because they're thinking about doing away with em!
 

elvisimprsntr

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@bvd

I have 3 Engenius APs on the same SSID, both bands, on non-overlapping channels, with band steering enabled. Clients seem to switch automagically between bands and APs, but then most of my clients do not roam.
 

bvd

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any comparison relative to the tplink omadas?
Engenius has better AP hand-off in my experience, and their troubleshooting/diagnostic tools are significantly more effective. They're in a completely different league though... I've had up to 80 clients on a single engenius AP without issue, but their hardware comes at something of a premium. The omada APs are so much less expensive though, that if you're not already choking for channel availability, it's likely cheaper to just add another omada AP.

It's really the AP->AP transitions that've hooked me on engenius - I like to walk around while I'm on work calls, and probably bounce between APs 15 times throughout the course of a single call... Without missing a beat, and in a fairly congested space. My wife does the same with facetime regularly. For anyone with mostly stationary equipment though? TP-Link's prices are hard to argue with!
 

Dave Corder

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Currently running a pair of Ruckus R710 with Unleashed at home (and no devices that have Wifi 6 right now, either) and I'm happy with them. But I have to ask...how does these EnGenius units with their cloud management compare to Unleashed?
 

EasyRhino

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- I like to walk around while I'm on work calls, and probably bounce between APs 15 times throughout the course of a single call...
You know, roaming used to be a big sore spot for me and my house as well. Mainly because our house is divided by a former stucco wall and its mesh screen that blocks most all radio signals. I used to have draft connections all the time.


But weirdly it's not a problem now. Even though our setup is just a omada on one end and a repurposed Asus consumer router on the other end. I can't remember how exactly we got it fixed, I think it was actually just getting the transmit powers weekend appropriately on each side. But now it's been working without a hitch for years
 

bvd

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You know, roaming used to be a big sore spot for me and my house as well. Mainly because our house is divided by a former stucco wall and its mesh screen that blocks most all radio signals. I used to have draft connections all the time.


But weirdly it's not a problem now. Even though our setup is just a omada on one end and a repurposed Asus consumer router on the other end. I can't remember how exactly we got it fixed, I think it was actually just getting the transmit powers weekend appropriately on each side. But now it's been working without a hitch for years
I think part of that might be simply that devices have come a LONG way in their conformance to the 802.11 specs. It used to be that many vendors would 'implement their own version' of it client-side, and if the AP vendor didn't have some kind of 'client-aware logic' specific to that device, the client's performance would end up sucking gas. While OTA might work, OTD could just be ignored, things like that. It's still *kinda* true for the various android tablet makers, but other than that, I'd say things really have just gotten a lot better in the industry.

While it may still be a possible issue for those with older devices (we have several, especially as devices I age out often end up at parents/in-laws), they're certainly getting worlds better at this point.

Currently running a pair of Ruckus R710 with Unleashed at home (and no devices that have Wifi 6 right now, either) and I'm happy with them. But I have to ask...how does these EnGenius units with their cloud management compare to Unleashed?
This is more difficult to answer, but if I had to sum it up, it'd be "Ruckus unleashed has far more granularity in management, while Engenius is faster at ~half the cost."

Ruckus has significantly deeper insights in to what each client is 'actually doing' (what applications they're using, how much, how often, that kind of thing), and that can be quite handy if you're not already running packet inspection at the firewall. You get a little bit of this with Engenius, but not even in the same league as the Ruckus system. Things like traffic shaping / bandwidth throttling can be set, but these are per-client settings, not per-client per-application. For myself, I prefer to do this at the firewall anyway, but having it freely included at the AP is pretty next level.

Price-wise, Ruckus is also in another league IMO - the ECW230S is similar to the r750 with the exception of the zigbee radio, an can be found for $600-$700 new depending on sales at the time... While the r750 is somewhere over twice that.

The engenius units outperform their ruckus/commscope counterparts in throughput, though not in density - for any location with less than 300-400 devices, I think engenius is the easy pick. My .02 anyway!
 

Stephan

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Suppose the EnGenius company goes bust. Are the APs worthless i.e. uncontrollable then? Easy to find out I guess, just take their internet away. My power company just got hacked. It's not in the news yet but I know, because I receive spam on the address only they knew. What if EnGenius gets hacked and your APs get a backdoored firmware update. Call me paranoid and I think you'd be not very wrong.
 

elvisimprsntr

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Suppose the EnGenius company goes bust. Are the APs worthless i.e. uncontrollable then? Easy to find out I guess, just take their internet away. My power company just got hacked. It's not in the news yet but I know, because I receive spam on the address only they knew. What if EnGenius gets hacked and your APs get a backdoored firmware update. Call me paranoid and I think you'd be not very wrong.
I have the non-cloud managed Engenius APs and no switch/controller, so my APs are not tied to any cloud service. Firmware updates are manually initiated using the web interface on each AP. The EWS3x7AP models support up to 1000 simultaneous devices at less than $100.
According to the datasheet Fast Roaming (802.11k & 802.11r) is built in, even in stand alone mode.
Engenius is the most bang for the $.
 
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bvd

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Suppose the EnGenius company goes bust. Are the APs worthless i.e. uncontrollable then? Easy to find out I guess, just take their internet away. My power company just got hacked. It's not in the news yet but I know, because I receive spam on the address only they knew. What if EnGenius gets hacked and your APs get a backdoored firmware update. Call me paranoid and I think you'd be not very wrong.
It is true that, if Senao/Engenius is hacked and their cloud platform compromised, things could go very poorly for those with cloud managed systems. I think I'd be the least of their concerns though, as they market primarily to major MSPs / enterprises.

Anything that 'provides internet' though is a risk - Asus's routers are a recent example, Cisco, Netgear, and many others. And it seems like NAS providers vulnerabilities are a dime a dozen.

I understand that cloud management is a trade-off, and if Senao goes bust (Senao = Engenius in the U.S.), sure, there are ways to flash the ECW AP's with the EWS counterparts firmware though if push came to shove. But in a world where new vulnerabilities are discovered daily, I feel like that's a risk with just about any company that's not fully open-source. Even if their equipment continues to work, I wouldn't want to keep running it, knowing that it no longer has anyone keeping the firmware up to date. If I go by this principle, then my only real options are rolling my own AP's, and something like OpenWRT.

Senao's a pretty decent sized company, one that's been around almost as long as Microsoft, and my experience with both the company and it's hardware have been excellent. It's certainly a trade-off, but one I'm willing to make. They publish their release notes publicly, and their support has been absolutely stellar for me.

For the record, the cloud APs do continue to work without internet connectivity, though they're not able to be re-configured - again, that'd require flashing them to their local HW counterpart... Almost everything's a trade-off, and this is one I'm willing to make at least.
 

Stephan

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Well if you need that many APs and this powerful and with that many features, I guess first things first let me personally congratulate you on owning a really big house! :)

You're right about daily intrusions. Fact of life in 2023. A year ago I subscribed to the RSS feed of bleepingcomputer.com and reading that really is all it takes to avoid anything cloud. Just give yourself two weeks.

At home I run PCengines APUs with relatively powerful ath9k Atheros 802.11n cards (blob-free) from 10 years ago with 2-3 good antennas by Panorama on Arch with a tweaked hostapd. I guess things look different more towards Ruckus or Senao if you have four kids each streaming Netflix at the same time and wife streaming Strange New Worlds in 4k.
 
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bvd

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Well if you need that many APs and this powerful and with that many features, I guess first things first let me personally congratulate you on owning a really big house! :)

You're right about daily intrusions. Fact of life in 2023. A year ago I subscribed to the RSS feed of bleepingcomputer.com and reading that really is all it takes to avoid anything cloud. Just give yourself two weeks.

At home I run PCengines APUs with relatively powerful ath9k Atheros 802.11n cards (blob-free) from 10 years ago with 2-3 good antennas by Panorama on Arch with a tweaked hostapd. I guess things look different more towards Ruckus or Senao if you have four kids each streaming Netflix at the same time and wife streaming Strange New Worlds in 4k.
Not *that* big of a house lol - I have 3 here at my place, 4 at my parents (2 indoor, 2 outdoor for the barn and shop), and 3 at my in-laws (2 indoor, 1 outdoor). When they release new APs, they often do a buy-one-get-one, makes them quite a bit cheaper as long as you don't need more than 2 (max 2 per cust direct from them, that's how I got the 220S's). I'd say if someone wanted the most 'feature-rich' APs though, they should probably look to Ruckus - the number of dials and nobs they have to tune is utterly astounding. It can also be pretty confusing, and easy to accidentally misconfigure lol.

As to intrusions, I totally get it - I actually work primarily work in incident response these days, and it's absolutely a trade-off (convenience vs security). It's eye-opening to say the least. For me though, this trade-off is worth it.

Has anyone tried cross flashing these to the non-cloud versions?
I had a ECW220 that I was able to flash with the EWS357 fw back when they first released - I'd gotten it for free (another one of Engenius' promos), and was underwhelmed by the cloud feature set at the time, so I figured it was worth a shot. It all went through fine, but then flashing it back wasn't possible... As the ECW fw is only available / manageable via their cloud interface. I suppose someone might be able to collect it was a packet capture or something while initiating a fw update to one of their APs, but it's not made publicly available. It's possible they've locked it down further since then, I'm not sure.

Their cloud switches though - they can be managed both locally and via the cloud (either or both concurrently). In fact, most of the 'power-user features' are only available via the local UI (DHCP relay, MLD snooping, etc). While I treat the APs basically as consumable, it'd definitely be nice to have the same management abilities (local+cloud) for the AP's as the switches...

One thing I **havent** yet tried is adopting one of the ECW APs with ezMaster. I'm pretty sure you can though, as it used to be one of the features they'd advertised for the cloud APs, that you could manage them either locally or via cloud... Think I'll give it a shot on one of them once they come in just to verify; supposed to be here either today or tomorrow, so we'll see!
 

Markess

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When they release new APs, they often do a buy-one-get-one,
Oh my! Do you need to be on a mailing/customer list for this? Or just keep an eye on the webstore?

I switched to Engenius a while back because I was tired of the "un-meshness" of Asus AI Mesh, and reviews said that Engenius's fast roaming worked really well. In the end, I was able to position a single EWS377AP to cover my entire 2600sq ft (241m2) house, due in part to its rather open floorplan. Since then we've added some outdoor security cameras/lights/IoT stuff, and signal to them isn't great. So it may be time to expand.
 

Dave Corder

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Are there any outdoor-rated EnGenius APs? The Ruckus ones are ridiculously expensive compared to the indoor ones. My house has foil-lined insulation in the exterior walls, which makes wifi reception not so great outside. I want to throw an AP or two outside (ideally one in front and one in back) to increase coverage out there, but the Ruckus prices make that near impossible on a hobbyist budget.
 

Dave Corder

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I think part of that might be simply that devices have come a LONG way in their conformance to the 802.11 specs. It used to be that many vendors would 'implement their own version' of it client-side, and if the AP vendor didn't have some kind of 'client-aware logic' specific to that device, the client's performance would end up sucking gas. While OTA might work, OTD could just be ignored, things like that. It's still *kinda* true for the various android tablet makers, but other than that, I'd say things really have just gotten a lot better in the industry.

While it may still be a possible issue for those with older devices (we have several, especially as devices I age out often end up at parents/in-laws), they're certainly getting worlds better at this point.



This is more difficult to answer, but if I had to sum it up, it'd be "Ruckus unleashed has far more granularity in management, while Engenius is faster at ~half the cost."

Ruckus has significantly deeper insights in to what each client is 'actually doing' (what applications they're using, how much, how often, that kind of thing), and that can be quite handy if you're not already running packet inspection at the firewall. You get a little bit of this with Engenius, but not even in the same league as the Ruckus system. Things like traffic shaping / bandwidth throttling can be set, but these are per-client settings, not per-client per-application. For myself, I prefer to do this at the firewall anyway, but having it freely included at the AP is pretty next level.

Price-wise, Ruckus is also in another league IMO - the ECW230S is similar to the r750 with the exception of the zigbee radio, an can be found for $600-$700 new depending on sales at the time... While the r750 is somewhere over twice that.

The engenius units outperform their ruckus/commscope counterparts in throughput, though not in density - for any location with less than 300-400 devices, I think engenius is the easy pick. My .02 anyway!
Thanks for the info! I don't really use that much of the high-end management functionality in my Ruckus APs, so I think EnGenius is going on my list of options for when I eventually want to upgrade to WiFi 6 or whatever in a couple years.
 

elvisimprsntr

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Are there any outdoor-rated EnGenius APs?
The new gen FIT model
The previous gen model the FIT replaced

They might both be the same HW, just different firmware. Although, when I inquired with Engenius support about flashing my EWS3[5,7]7APv3 to the new FIT firmware, they replied they are different HW. It appears there are a pair of unpopulated UART ports, but I have not seen any forum posts describing their use. Nice of them to at least label the pins V-G-T-R

Re: https://fccid.io/A8J-EWS377APV3/Internal-Photos/Internal-photos-4878698


Screenshot 2023-07-10 at 4.49.05 PM.png


Some of Engenius other models support U-Boot and flashing via TFTP.

 
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