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Gigabyte GN-A17GU 802.11g WiFi Access Point Review

Gigabyte GN-A17GU 802.11g WiFi Access Point Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Business users have been among the first to jump on the 802.11g bandwagon, as the new standard offers increased security over the previously flawed implementations of WEP.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Networking Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Feb 02 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Networking > Gigabyte GN-A17GU

Capabilities and features

A single antennae projects the 2.4GHz signal. As the GN-A17GU is an access point and not a home routing device, it has only a single wired Ethernet port to connect it to the wired LAN.

Generally you would connect this RJ45 port either to a network device such as a hub or switch, or to a PC that was acting as a gateway between your wireless network and the rest of your business.

The power adaptor is pleasingly small. A plastic cover on the top of the device hides the add-in PCMCIA card slot which can support a single additional wireless 802.11a or 802.11g compatible Gigabyte product.

Wireless Access Points (WAP) are essentially similar to home routing devices, with some additional features added and some removed. For starters, wireless access points are simply intended to act as a gateway between your wired and wireless networks, so they do not contain the firewall and Internet sharing abilities that routers boast.

What WAPs can do is link to other access points within range. By doing this, you can create a large WiFi network consisting of several access points linked together, allowing users to roam seamlessly between them.

The hidden slot for a PCMCIA wireless adaptor allows the Gigabyte GN-A17GU to connect to another standard, like 802.11a for example. The Wireless Access Point does not need the card to operate, and if you choose not to use it, the built in antennae will still support 802.11g signals.
As a product targeted towards business users, the GN-A17GU to supplies ample security features and the ability to co-operate with other access points. In fact, it gives the user the option of up to 152-bit WEP encryption and the ability to use point-to-point and point-to-multipoint modes to communicate with other access points (APs).

With an upgrade to the AP Manager software (see Gigabyte's website) which is bundled with the device, the newest form of wireless encryption, called Wireless Protected Access or WPA can also be used. Other security features include MAC address filtering, and the very useful ability to hide the SSID of your wireless network.

An SSID is the name that identifies your network, which any client must have in order to connect, and by hiding this from being broadcast you can help prevent intruders from easily associating with your access point. The GN-A17GU is also compatible with RADIUS authentication to aid businesses in separating their wireless networks from the rest of the company.

In terms of performance, the Gigabyte GN-A17GU is an 802.11g/b-supporting product, capable of transferring data at a maximum of 54 megabits per second. Of course, as with all wireless products, you are unlikely to see anything close to that level of throughput in real-world usage, but most 54mbps products fall into the 18-25mbps average range.

Like other 802.11g products, the Gigabyte GN-A17GU access point is fully backwardly compatible with 802.11b devices so you don't have to reinvest in new wireless cards if all you have is 802.11b NICs. The GN-A17GU also offers support for two additional proprietary modes, 802.11g super and 802.11g turbo. Both of these need specialized wireless network adaptors (available from many vendors, including Gigabyte) to connect and offer increased transfer speeds.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GN-A17GU
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GN-A17GU 802.11g WiFi Access Point Review
 Pg 2.  — Capabilities and features
 Pg 3.  Support for other standards
 Pg 4.  Configuration Options
 Pg 5.  Security Configuration
 Pg 6.  Options and Ease of Use
 Pg 7.  Wireless Performance Tests

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