AirLive 802.11n Devices Review 4

AirLive 802.11n Devices Review

Firmware & Software »

A Closer Look

All three items ship in very similar packaging. They come in the signature white and light blue boxes we have come to know from AirLive. The front of each clearly shows a clear shot of the respective device within, while the rear goes into details in form of features and specifications.

AirLive WN-300ARM-VPN

Diving right in, the router/ADSL modem is held in place by cardboard and ships in a thin plastic bag to further protect it. You will find the accessories in the compartments to the left and bottom of the package. The CD and manual are simply placed on top of the router inside the brown cardboard box.

Along with documentation and drivers, you will receive a cable to connect the modem to your phone socket, two antennas and a blue network cable. With these you should be able to get started right away and other manufacturers do not include anything else either. A small power brick, rated for 1A output is also included. It is quite compact and plugs right into the wall power socket, keeping cable clutter to a minimum.

I was surprised to see that the WN-300ARM-VPN was so compact. I expect it to be somewhat large, judging by the list of fairly impressive features. The construction of the unit is adequate, but there are routers/modems which fare better in this regard. I am able to push down on the top of the enclosure and make it bend slightly. The casing is covered in air vents on the top and bottom, while the latter also has two openings to hang the unit unto a wall along with four rubber feet.

In front you have quite many LEDs, but they are all clearly labeled. Starting with the power and status ones on the left, next to the ones intended for the LAN activity of physically connected devices. Where other manufacturers simply give you a single LED per port, AirLive includes a pair for each to denote 10 or 100 Mbit/s connectivity. The right area is taken by lights for the wireless, ADSL, Internet and WPS status. Turning the WN-300ARM-VPN over, we have the usual set of four LAN ports in yellow, a light gray connector for your ADSL line, two reverse SMA headers for the antennas and a plug to connect power to the device. On top of these you have a power button to physically turn it off, without unplugging the cable - so far nothing out of the ordinary, but the next two are certainly interesting and useful. The WPS button allows you to turn on the set wireless security you have set within the unit on or off - perfect if you happen to have guest over who just want to get online with their devices quickly. Then there is the wireless button, which allows you to disable the wifi aspect of the WN-300ARM-VPN with a push of this button.

AirLive WN-5000PCI

The PCI card is secured within the brown box in the same fashion as the VPN router. The three antennas have been loosely placed right next to the card, but did not cause any visible damage to the unit or the inner cardboard.

The three antennas are rather bulky and large. With these you could theoretically achieve a 300 Mbit/s connectivity to the appropriate router. AirLive mentions a maximum connectivity of 270 Mbit/s to the WN-300ARM-VPN with IEEE 802.11n using 40 MHz, so it will be interesting to see what we manage to run the network at later on. Along with these comes a manual and the CD with drivers and digital documentation.

The PCI card is rather large compared to current 802.11g based cards. A large portion of it is covered by the metal EMI shield, but the IC is clearly visible. There is nothing surprising on the underside of the package, just the sticker with the WN-5000PCI serial number & MAC address. There are no electrical components on this side.

AirLive has chosen to go with the RaLink RT2860T, which is a very capable IC. The specification can be found here. Plugging the three antennas in makes the unit look quite menacing. There are plenty of manufacturers offering such a configuration for their high-end 300 Mbit/s parts and AirLive is no exception here.

AirLive WN-200USB

Last, but not least, we have received the WN-200USB, which packs the reach and speed of IEEE 802.11n connectivity into a very small universal serial bus device. It ships sandwiched between two cardboard parts, right in the center of the box.

AirLive has included a manual and CD which contain the same type of drivers & documentation here as well. You will not find a USB extension cable, or USB stand, which is something useful for those who want to switch between using the USB stick on their home PC and for the notebook on the road.

The cap protecting the USB plug comes off easily and the entire casing of the stick seems to be rather sturdy, even though I do not like the cheap feel of the plastic used. The AirLive logo has been printed on top, while the serial number & MAC address can be found in a sticker on the underside.
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Jul 5th, 2022 00:04 EDT change timezone

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