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Pros: Works good with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi devices without drop-outs. Price is reasonable.
Cons: Lacks 5GHz connectivity and extended range.
Overall Review: I first used the higher-end ESR1200 for a few months, which costs more and supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. Then I was asked to test this entry-level ESR300 model.
Overall, for a fraction of the cost, the ESR300 is your basic introductory Wi-Fi router. Since it is limited to the 2.4GHz band, I was only able to get max speeds around 30Mbps with my Comcast service, while the ESR1200 on 5GHz would get the full speed of my Comcast internet at 55Mbps.
For the range, the ESR1200 does extend further than the ESR300. I could get some range outside with the ESR1200, but the ESR300 was pretty much limited to only the inside of the house.
The front LED lights are very bright, so you may want to put some tape over them if it is in a bedroom.
Overall, if you don't want to spend a fortune for a router, and want something that is basic and works without issue, the ESR300 does a good job.
Pros: - Very stable both wired and wireless
- MUCH better than it's price suggests
- A plethora of features you just don't find at this price
Cons: A big fat NONE
Overall Review: I've been using this router in a cascade with my main (and much more expensive) router. It has worked flawlessy, but recently my main router took a dive, and the Engenius ESR300 took it's place during the RMA process.
All I can say is WOW. I've been through dozens of routers, but the throughput, and stability of this little router are AWESOME. I'm seeing wireless N speeds (2.4ghz spectrum ONLY, mind you) that I have never seen with more expensive 5ghz routers from Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, Belkin, Asus, etc.
The speeds aren't just awesome, they are steady, and that's even more impressive as wifi tends to go up and down a bit, by nature. The only thing this router can't do is gigabit, but that really isn't a problem - I just fed it into a gigabit switch, which all my wired devices are connected to, and problem solved!
If you need a good, very solid performing router with a few nice bells and whistles, you can't go wrong giving this one a try at $30. Trust me, you'll be happy you did, even if it's only a backup!
Pros: Guest network, this is a nice feature especially considering this entry level device
Good 2.4Ghz speeds
Wirelessly connect and configure devise
Cons: Possibly might have been better to switch the USB feature for gigabit LAN or 5Ghz N?
If keeping USB port, I would expect USB 3.0 would be in order
Shape and color will not appeal to the enthusiast.
No client or client bridge mode ( I know im dreaming, most routers do not have it, but DD-WRT firmware will bring it)
No third party or open source firmware support (any router in this price range with this support would be the next WRT54G)
Web Interface could use more tips on the features especially some of the advanced ones
The feet seem to not hold too well
Overall Review: When I saw the devise in person I will say it does resemble a smoke detector as others have mentioned. I like that a number of manufactures have turned to simple packaging, just nice box on the outside and recycled material in the inside. The look will be a hit or miss, if you are more into business style then of course this would not appeal as much. But esthetics aside I let the performance and features speak louder. For the entry level router its looks will meet the average user’s needs.
The wizard was surprisingly decent, I hardly use them, but I gave it a run and it configured basic WAN stuff on its own without issue. Granted I did not use it much else. I was happy to find that I could skip the wizard and go to the settings quickly. The whole layout is typical of most routers, just that it follows its nice white and clean design. All the settings that the average user could hope for are there. I would like to see more tips and descriptions for some of the advanced features, this especially would help anyone figure out what to tweak or change.
I was pleased to see simple instructions, I was also amazed that I could login and configure the router wirelessly, I believe that is a big plus, a number of routers require you to be connected to the LAN.
Moving on to tests done using LAN Speed Test Lite.
Test comparison was done with my Netgear WNDR3300, both were placed in exact same area.
Test devices: Desktop connected to the LAN, and laptop with Intel wireless Ultimate-N 6300 AGN, the laptop was running the test app. Both were configured for 2.4Ghz N.
Netgear WNDR3300 was configured with my favorite firmware DD-WRT. The netgear mostly peaked at 130Mbps speed, while the ESR300 peaked at 144Mbps! Both had about same signal quality, most likely due to both having built in antennas.
Devise: Write (upload) Reading (download)
WNDR3300 avg 44Mbps avg 63Mbps
ESR300 avg 45 Mbps avg 74 Mbps
The ESR300 had a bit more variance then the Netgear, but I was shocked that it scored on avg of 10Mbps more! then the Netgear in the Download area.
In conclusion, this entry devise is good, and would have been great if the usb port would go and gigabit Ethernet replaced it. I do not believe that USB support is important for such low entry devise, most people will pay far more for higher end model for such feature, and USB support is a hit and miss most of time with all routers. I expected Gigabit Ethernet instead of the USB support, that way this router can work well as a switch and possibly wired extender of wireless network. Also USB 2.0 is just as bad as having 100M over the Gigabit Ethernet connections, either remove some of the cheaper features or put in fewer but higher end. Having USB3.0 would have been a great plus, but USB2.0? I would think most users would pass.
Pros: First thing I noticed when I unpacked the router from the box was how cute it was. It doesn't have an aggressive or business style look, but a cute and happy little work horse. It doesn't look out of place when I had it on the ceiling, it looks like a slightly over-sized smoke detector, which could be good if you need WiFi in a big open area. You can have it in the ceiling at the center of the house and most people wouldn't even think of it. It's also really light which made it easy to get up there.
I used this for a while as my main router and was amazed by how many features it has for such a low-cost router. Port Forwarding and the USB device sharing I found particularly useful.
The interface when you get into the router carries the cheerful attitude of the router itself. I found everything bright and easy to read. The automatic set up was also very neat and easy to set up. I would feel comfortable giving this to my Mom and have her figure it out. It really is easy, just remember to reboot your modem prior to connecting this router.
Currently I'm using this as a wireless switch to broaden network access in my house. It was easy enough to set up. I just avoided using the WAN port and plug an ethernet from a Homeplug to this on the other side of my house and it works great.
For those that really need some meat in their router this does have some very nice features. The aforementioned USB port was neat for a bit, but I tend to use my Home-server for most media functions. The router did stream HD video from my Home-Server to my Main Router, to a switch, to a Home-Plug(ethernet to home electrical if you were wondering) to this router, to my Wirelessly connected Chromebook, and it works fantastically! I was able to do some streaming into the backyard. I found this useful for a recent gathering where I needed to stream music from my homeserver, and this helped with giving me range and a solid connection.
Cons: My biggest gripe is that the feet don't sit well when on a table or shelf. I moved this little guy around a bit and while the included wall mounts are useful, when I decided to have it sit on a shelf it slides around. I found some rubber feet that I put on it from an old router, but I wish Engenius put some little rubber feet on this.
This is also a very light router. I've handled some pretty highend Netgears and low End Rosewill routers and I found this one feels lighter than either. It could be a Pro or a Con, but some might see this as a quality hit as it feels cheap. On that note, it's matte plastic and feels very much like a children's toy, when combined with how light it is. This is of course subjective as some may prefer the lightness of it as well as the fact that most people usually set a router somewhere and forgets it as it silently does it's job
Overall Review: I really like the look of this, as I said earlier it easily can be mistaken for a smoke detector, which I like. And while it feels cheap, the interface and features of this router are top-notch, and I found the range to be fine for my needs. The price is really great for what you get, and I have no problems recommending this to my less tech-savvy friends and family. Solid Wireless-N Router
Pros: This is an aesthetically pleasing little item with a shape somewhat reminiscent of the old Apple Airport, the UFO shaped one, although the EnGenius ESR300 is a lot flatter and thankfully a lot easier to set up.
The router has a very easy setup, especially for the rookie user, for the more experienced bods it may be a bit to very annoying. There’s a WPS button, not something I use as my wireless router is in the basement which I really only visit if there’s an issue, but in a different situation it would be very convenient. Three indicator LEDs show Power, Wireless Connection and Internet connected. There are 4 LAN ports and a WAN port, the speed of the LAN ports is stipulated only as fast, see other thoughts.
Pretty much the features are what you would expect from a consumer level wireless router. There’s a fairly rudimentary firewall, MAC filtering, Parental Controls etc. Multiple SSIDs can be setup to allow guest access etc. A major Pro is the presence of a USB connection which will allow you to attach USB storage and share it as your own personal and using EnShare setting up your own personal cloud. You can also share with SAMBA and FTP. There are a few other noteworthy features, there’s a real time bandwidth monitor, IP camera setup (for EnGenius cameras only apparently), extensive L2TP and PPTP settings, AP and WDS modes for wireless, the standard wireless encryption protocols, a parental controls policy manager, VPN tunneling, a rather neat WOL section, and a facility to back up the router’s settings. One thing I always like to see due to my setup is a remote reboot facility accessible from the web interface.
The puck is wall mountable and comes with screws and wall plugs should you choose that option. A Pro for the inexperienced user is the GUI, it is clearer and much more user friendly than the GUI in most other routers I have used. Items are in the logical place and are accessible in a logical order. More experienced users, however, may find it to be a bit of an irritation.
Cons: A few cons: the router when wall mounted would have to be mounted upside down i.e. with the EnGenius logo upside-down such that the ports are on the bottom of the wall mounted router. Mounted the right way up and the cables enter the router at the top which unless you have them supported in some way is less than ideal. This maybe just my OCD shining through though.
The lack of rubber feet: although a minor point if you have five LAN cables attached there is significant pull just from the weight of attached cable to overcome the friction of the small plastic feet, resulting in the router talking a walk or rather a skid across the bench.
There is a certain amount of obfuscation in the specifications i.e. they are labelled as fast Ethernet ports, now we know it’s not Gbit, the Newegg listing confirms these as 100M ports but neither the EnGenius manual, or site specify this. There are also no activity LEDS on the LAN ports, I can see the advantage to the manufacturer of not having these but it could, potentially, be a pain in the tonsils for the user, I also note that the absence of these LEDs seems to be across the ESR range.
Default security settings need to be addressed, anonymous login enabled by default in FTP is not a good thing especially given the audience for this device (See Other Thoughts). The wall wart while certainly up to the task of powering the router and an attached 2.5” 5400 rpm 500GB drive, it is physically large enough to make it not play nice with other wall warts on a power strip.
There was no manual in my box, or CD containing manual! You can download it from here,
Overall Review: To test this item I switched out my Edimax dual band router and replaced it with this, and after about 30 minutes of setup, (I have a lot of forwarded ports, bandwidth allocations etc.), it was all done. On a simpler network I would imagine you would be up and running within 10 minutes. Apart from the loss of the 5 GHz network that my Edimax provided nobody in the house noticed any difference when the EnGenius was up and running. That in itself is a testament to its performance. As to the extra range, sorry “Xtra”, well I couldn’t prove it one way or another but it did cover the same area successfully that a router costing two and a half times as much did.
The 100M ports performed as they should but it is a bit of a disappointment to see them in a new piece of kit, not a biggie in my setup as my router is plugged into an 8 way gigabit smartswitch. EnGenius do offer gigabit ports in the next router up (ESR350 for an extra $5) so it’s definitely a cost trimming option and given the low price of this router that is understandable.
The addition of a USB external drive was straightforward, plug it in, enable EnShare, SAMBA and FTP (DESELECT anonymous login and setup a user and password) in the router’s webgui. I had a 500GB external 2.5” drive operating as a shared resource in about less than a minute. Throughput whilst not blistering was definitely usable.
I really think the main strength of this router is in its ease of use and its cost, novice users will be able to unbox this and get it going with a minimum of fuss and cash outlay.
Having said that the default security settings do require some attention, especially the anonymous login being enabled on the FTP server of any USB attached storage. I don’t normally use FTP outside my home network but I setup a secure server with port forwarding just to monitor attempted logins. Within an hour of setting it up I had had 16 attempted logins from 5 different IPs. Anonymous login big nono.
Overall the EnGenius ESR300 is a good buy, the feature:cost ratio is very high, the setup is very easy and is ideal for the non-technical user. A more experienced tech-head may want to look for something with a bit more oomph. In my case this item will be used as a backup router in case my Edimax kicks the bucket!
Pros: I liked the intinal setup wizard it made it easy to setup.
4 ports like most routers
USB connector for easy transfer files from anywhere.
Cons: 10/100 no gigabyte.
Round bright white.
Overall Review: Looking at the intinal price of 29.99 this is a great starter router. Compareable to a linkseys wgt54.
I went thru the wizard to setup and really didnt mind i was looking at it the way a first time user would. You dont have to know much as it walks you thru eash aspect of it. My speeds are 30Mbps down and 7 Mbps up and i saw close to that speed over a wired connection. From both laptops i was able to watch streaming tv shows at about 75 feet away thru a few walls. As a person that is always carrying a 32 gig flash drive back and forth to work i took a 3x5 card and wrote down the router access number on bottom of router. Went to work and left the 32 gig USB hooked to router and i had not one problem getting files off it and transfering them to my work computer. Put a 500 gig external on it and downloaded a short movie to work from it. Took awhile for 3.5 gigs but it did it and when done i was able to watch it at work as a test.
I started out with a linkseys and graduated to dd-wrt buffalo router. Make sure to unplug modem before you hook it all up and then plug it in took less than 2 minutes to pick it up and about 5 minutes to set router up with wireless pw. I liked the simpleness of it to many first timers have problems with a more complicated router and this is perfect for them. I now have it hooked into the buffalo and it works great as a extender for my wireless signal. Now i have wireless in the very front of house and one in the very back. I can pick up a signal anywhere in my yard now it is appx 150 foot long and 50 foot wide. After the setup wizards complets you can add in your wireless password and any spefic items you want it is feature rich for the price. The package comes with the power convertor, cord and router with screws and anchors for the wall. When i tested it by itself i put it behind my 42 inch tv so it couldnt be seen. All my electronics are black and here i am with a round bright white router so keeping it out of site on wall was a plus. Very lightweight only time will tell as to how durable it is it is one of the reasons i hooked it up as a extender in the basement. I ran it for four days testing it by itself and not once was wireless disconnected and no speed drops. I am used to paying fifty dollars or more for a basic router that covers b/g/n it is nice that a company took the time to simplify installation and cheaper than most so affordable to the masses. I would recommend this to friends and family is a product i was more than glad to review.
Pros: -Easy first time setup with web based interface
-B/G/N 2.4Ghz Wireless antenna with auto channel select
-Ability to create up to 4 SSID's to segregate a separate guest network or other internal network
-Router can be used in Access Point mode or Wireless Distribution Mode (WDS) to act as as a relay station to extend your network while using the same SSID
-Full IPV6 Support with auto configuration
-USB Port file sharing with samba, DLNA, and FTP access
-Parental controls for keeping kids away from unwanted sites and monitoring their usage
-The usual port forwarding / triggering, DMZ, routing
Cons: -Web interface could be more intuitive, I would like to have a simple attached devices screen that shows all interfaces, IP addresses, and mac addresses on one screen, instead you must either view the DHCP table one page, as well as wired and wireless having its own status page.
- Some default options are rather insecure, such as FTP, DLNA, and anonymous login enabled for your USB file share out of the box.
-No 5Ghz wireless radio to help reduce interference or increase range
-Only 10/100 Ethernet no gigabit.
Overall Review: I was very impressed with the ESR300's performance for the cost (at time of review $29.99), for a simple home user or small business it provides adequate performance and ease of use for an everyday user.
However more advanced users may get annoyed with all the wizards and help screens that initially greet you when setting up the router, as well as needing to have a few options tweaked for security purposes.
As of this review there is not yet a firmware update available but it seems as though Engenius Tech has started with a very strong foundation to build upon for their router software.
I found that the range of the router was comparable to other 2.4Ghz access points, but due to my buildings concrete and not radio wave friendly construction I dont expect much range in this frequency.
If you really need more range or gigabit ethernet then look to the ESR600 which offers both a 5Ghz radio and gigabit ethernet for the next step up in performance.
I feel for the asking price and all included features that this router is a great value and I recommend it to anyone needing a quick, easily setup home routing solution.
Pros: The EnGenius ESR300 Wireless Cloud Router comes in a slick form about the size of a household smoke detector. You could even ceiling mount this unit (if you could figure out a good way to wire it) and it would appear to be a smoke detector. The box contains an AC adaptor, 2 mounting screws with sheetrock anchors, a 21” (end-to-end) CAT 5e Ethernet cable, a quick start guide, an EnShare guide, and the Router. The guides go through the very basic setup steps.
When you first plug in the router the setup guide says to wait 2 minutes. I didn’t have to wait that long. The WiFi is setup right out of the box just look at the label on the bottom of the router for the SSID name and Password. If you want to enter the web interface and for some reason typing Engeniusrouter into your browser windows doesn’t work the real address is http://192.168.0.1:8080/index.html. There is a lot of hand holding during the first login to the router. You will not be prompted for a password but need to complete the steps before you can get to a more customizable interface. This is probably good if this is the first router you have ever set up.
Once the setup is complete and you login to the router you are presented with a nice management interface. Right off the bat you can see the system status and any client machines that are connected to the router. The WAN side of the router can be setup to use Dynamic or Static IP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, and DS-Lite. The Wireless can be setup in 2 modes Access point or Wireless Distribution System mode. The wireless security can do anything from WEB to WPA2. There are some basic Parental Control options as well as the ability to setup a guest network. There is a very basic firewall and VPN option as well.
A nice feature this router has is the USB port. This port can be connected to external storage, I tested with a 500G external laptop sized USB drive. The router surprisingly was able to power the drive . On the bottom of the router is a web address that is specific to your router. When you visit this address you have access to the storage you have connected to your router. This is part of the EnShare setup. There is an option for SAMBA mappings, and an FTP server (which can have anonymous login active or require a username and password) . This router can also be setup as a DLNA media server.
This router supports Dynamic DNS services.
Overall I think this is a good router for a basic user and a good price. The added USB storage option is also a plus.
Cons: For advanced users there is a little too much hand holding during the initial configuration. Sadly it seems you have to go through the wizard setup before you can make any custom setup options.
While the USB external storage is nice there really isn’t any access control to speak of. If EnShare is enabled all you need is the address on the back of the unit. There is no setup location to create users that have access to the storage so you are stuck with your admin user and a guest user (if using FTP).
Overall Review: The included Ethernet cable could be a bit longer. It is sufficient for setting up the unit. The current Hardware and Firmware version as of this posting is 1.0. There are no updates online at this time. I didn’t have a way to test the IP camera option, but there is a way to have this router connect to an IP camera. The current advertised price when this review was done was $29.99.