Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Linksys WAP54G Instant Wireless-G Access Point reviewed

| Wireless Driver & Software

Status and Monitoring

Status and client monitoring features are a mixed bag, with Figure 5 showing most of what you get.

Linksys WAP54G: Status screen

Figure 5: Status screen
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

The good news is that you get Transmit and Receive stats, so you can at least see if wireless traffic is flowing. But there’s no ability to see in-range clients or their status, or stop the auto-refresh of this page.

The eagle-eyed among you have probably noticed the Log tab on the screenshots. I was pleased that the interface said that both Inbound and Outbound traffic were logged to both the admin interface and also to a file viewable by the Linksys Logviewer utility that can be downloaded from their website. But my smile soon faded, since actual logging looks like it didn’t make the cut on this firmware revision. The only thing that ever appeared in the admin interrface’s log were system and syslogd start/stop messages.

Huh? syslogd? That sure didn’t sound like something that would be compatible with the Linksys Logviewer utility, which monitors SNMP Trap messages. Sure enough, when I fired up my trusty 3CDaemon which includes a little syslog server, I saw syslogd started: BusyBox v0.60.0 (2002.12.16-02:58+0000).

But that was about all I saw, because I ran both the Linksys Logviewer and syslog server pretty much the entire time that I was putting the 54G through its paces, and never saw anything else logged there, or in the admin interface popup window either. Looks like another feature for the “to do” list.

Security Features

The 54G supports only standard 64 and 128 bit WEP key lengths in Hexadecimal format only. You can also use the alphanumeric Passphrase function, which generates four identical Hexadecimal keys. Keys are stored in cleartext and persist through a WEP disable/enable cycle, but can’t be saved or read to/from a file.

Note that the AP doesn’t support the 802.1X authentication standard, or disallow association from clients using an ESSID of “any”. But, as mentioned previously, it does allow disabling (E)SSID Broadcast as a security enhancement.

Finally, the AP has a Filtered MAC Address feature. You can enter up to 40 MAC addresses, which can all be either permitted or denied association with the AP. But the list can’t be saved or loaded to / from a file, and you aren’t given a pick-list of associated or in-range clients to ease the chore of creating your list.

Now that you know how to set all the knobs, let’s see how this sucker did in the Performance department!

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