The review compares two CPE devices for 2.4GHz band. #
Some time ago Ubiquiti Networks introduced Nanostation2. NS2 was very innovative. It combined an Access Point and a Router with built-in dual polarization antenna. Nanostation is very popular among wireless internet providers as a Customer Premises Equipment.
Recently EnGenius has launched EOC2610 which is a competitor for Nanostation2.
The equipment below has been reviewed:#
- Ubiquiti Nanostation2
- EnGenius Senao EOC2610
- Notebook HP Pavilon
- Netbook Asus Eee PC
- Omnidirectional Antenna 8dBi 2.4GHz
- MikroTik RouterBoard RB433
- Wistron CM9 miniPCI card
- Draka MRC400 cable with Andrew Nm connectors
Nanostation2 comes inside a nice black box. Inside the box there is a Nanostation CPE, 12VDC power supply, PoE adapter and two plastic straps to install NS on a mast. With these straps you can install NS in a several seconds. The perfect simplicity. NS is equipped with a RJ-45 connector and SMA one for an external antenna. NS2 works under AirOS 3.1
At the first glance, just after opening the box, Engenius EOC2610 looks like Nanostation. On the back EnGenius looks slightly different. It was designed to be fixed with a single metal strap. Moreover, there are two holes for installing the CPE directly on a wall; four screws are included. 24VDC power supply and PoE adapter are included as well. Like Nanostation EOC2610 has six LEDs which indicate signal strength, power, LAN and WLAN status. Engenius has a RJ-45 connector, an external antenna SMA connector and an internal/external antenna switch. The 2610 came with 1.0.24 firmware on board.
Nanostation2 and EOC 2610 support Access Point and WISP (router) modes. NS2 supports WDS connections with MikroTik while we did not manage to connect EOC2610 to MikroTik with WDS (however such an option can be chosen in EnGenius)
The map shows where the equimpent was installed.
Enlarge the map
While testing the distance between antennas was about 3 km. There was no obstacles between antennas. TX Power on both devices was set up to the maximum value.
The devices worked in the folowing configurations:
- A Omnidirectional antenna was installed on the eighth floor (about 25m). The antenna worked with MikroTik RouterBoard RB433 and Wistron CM9 miniPCI card.
- B Nanostation2 / EOC2610 were installed on the car park on a mast and pointed towards 8dBi 2.4GHz omnidirectional antenna. CPEs were connected to Asus EEE netbook.
Signal levels were measured between 2412MHz and 2472MHz (channels 1 - 13). The reuslts were read on Mikrotik RB433.
Signal strength 2412 - 2472 MHz
|Signal dBm NS2
|Signal dBm EOC2610
Signal levels on EnGenius EOC2610 were lower than on Nanostation2. EOC2601 was expected to have higher signal strength as EnGenius declares higher TX Power.
It was imposible to catch signal level on EOC2610 as it showed very weird readings between -10dBm and -220dBm! That was the reason NS2 and EOC worked as an AP while mostly in real-world they act as clients.
What was the most surprising EOC does not have any antenna alignment tool. The way to align the antenna is site survey function which is very slow and annoying. A device which aspires to be a CPE for wireless internet provider must be more 'provider friendy'
It seems EOC came with an early release of firmware.
Unlike EOC, Nanostation has much more sophisticated firmware. The Web interface is intuitive and user friendly. It could be a reference for EnGenius if they improve their interface.
Further tests are pointless as long as the firmware of Engenius is not improved.
Engenius Senao 2610 Web Interface
Engenius Senao signal strength readings
Ubiquiti Nanostation2 Web Interface
- Both devices are easy to mechanically install
- Higher signal strength on Nanostation2
- Firmware of EOC2610 needs to be improved (then further test may be carried out)
- EOC2610 does not work with MikroTik in WDS mode