This first business-class wireless product from Gateway impresses us with its advanced features and low price, though it may not be quite ready for the big-business arena. It is a nice fit for small to midsize businesses with ten or fewer APs.
At first glance, you might mistake the 7001 for a home or small-office device. But it includes many of the features of higher-priced corporate APs: dual radios, enterprise WPA for tight security, Power over Ethernet, and automated configuration for multiple access points.
Its performance was a pleasant surprise as well; the 7001’s “g” throughput was slightly superior to that of the Cisco product at several distances.
One of the more interesting components on this AP is its second Ethernet port. You use the first port to connect to your secured network via WEP, 802.1x, or WPA. The built-in RADIUS server lets even small businesses use enterprise WPA. Small and midsize businesses that don’t use VLANs can use the second Ethernet port to separate a guest wireless network from the secured wireless network.
While the AP’s management interface is a bit confusing—unfortunately true of all the products in the roundup—it’s usable. A kick-start wizard discovers the first access point on the network, which you can then configure. Many larger companies will want secure management, SNMP support, and the ability to disable management from a wireless endpoint, which this AP lacks.
We like the option of configuring additional APs automatically, which saves time and reduces configuration errors. A wireless distribution system extends the range to areas without network cabling.
We applaud Gateway’s entry for its low price and solid performance; it will serve smaller businesses well. Midsize and large businesses, however, will want something with more robust management options.