Review Price free/subscription
Hotspot Gateway - £323.76
Ticket Printer - £227.64
Providing wireless access to your staff is simple enough and the numerous access points and routers we’ve reviewed recently are designed to make it a cinch to set up. However, the problem starts to get rather sticky if you want to offer a wireless hotspot with authenticated access and want to charge for it as few home and small business products offer any facilities to manage this. Enter SMC’s Wireless HotSpot Gateway and Mini-POS Ticket Printer which aims to provide a simple solution that can dish out secure, strictly controlled Internet access to wired and wireless users with nothing more than a few key presses.
The access point (AP) comes with five switched Fast Ethernet ports and no less than four of them can be used to provide simultaneous Internet access. You can add four ADSL or cable modems, enter their respective ISP login details and the AP will perform load balancing across all WAN ports in use. If any fail then all traffic will be switched to the active WAN links. Standard hacker protection is provided by NAT and an SPI firewall to which you can add custom packet filtering rules and apply them to specific ports. You can also stop wireless traffic from being passed to the LAN ports allowing you to isolate wireless users and restrict them to accessing only the WAN port. If wireless range needs to be extended the AP can use the WDS (wireless distribution system) so it can act as a repeater for other APs that support this feature.
Both 802.11b and g wireless clients are supported and you can allow both or either type to associate with the AP. Wireless security is where SMC scores highly as this is well beyond your average router. As you’d expect both 64/128-bit WEP and WPA-PSK are supported but the AP goes much further by offering four different types of 802.1x user authentication schemes. For 802.1x authentication the AP acts as a RADIUS client and will communicate with a backend RADIUS server for acquiring user credentials.