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The unit can act as a standard access point which supports SSID masking, MAC address filtering, 64/128-bit WEP, WPA and 802.1x user authentication using an external RADIUS server. A client mode has a handy search tool which lists all discovered access points available for connection and you can use WEP or WPA encryption.
For file serving the device runs a simple Samba server so it’ll support any client that can connect to this. An open ‘guest’ access mode can be used or you can apply an internal list of up to five username and password combinations. Shares can be created on both the internal hard disk and USB devices and read only or write access granted. Anonymous FTP services are also available for up to five concurrent users and the shared directories previously created apply to this service as well.
SMC’s Configure utility helps initial setup but the interface can’t be resized.
LAN performance isn’t too bad for such a versatile little device. Using standard Windows file sharing we copied a 36MB MPEG file from the server to a PC on the LAN which took 12 seconds for an average of 3MB/sec, while copying it back to the server returned an average of 2.25MB/sec. Copying the file over FTP to the PC also took 12 seconds. Speed dipped a little for the USB ports as copying the same file from a USB 2.0 flash disk to a PC and back again saw averages of 2.5MB/sec and 1.4MB/sec respectively.
Using a Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook equipped with a triple speed Proxim wireless card we tested raw wireless speeds using Iometer. On a close range open connection between the notebook and a PC with the server acting as an access point we saw a raw throughput of 29.6Mbit/sec. Without MIMO trickery to help it along speed settled to a modest 14Mbit/sec when we moved the notebook to the floor below. With 128-bit WEP and WPA-PSK on the case these speeds dropped by around 15 and 22 per cent respectively.
As a NAS appliance the SMCWAGS-G is a little basic with at best average performance but factor in its extreme portability, support for USB and internal IDE disks, useful 802.11g multi-function wireless capabilities and good security and you have one very handy little storage device for mobile users.