The web cam feature has a lot of potential but ultimately proved to be the most disappointing. Only supported USB cameras can be used but Asus’ web site doesn’t say which models although we had some success with a Logitech QuickCam Pro. You can pick from 320×240 or 160×120 pixel resolutions, choose a refresh rate as quick as one second and decide whether to allow access from the LAN and Internet. On first contact the application will load an ActiveX control but only the preview page worked and the image was poor by IP camera standards. Pointing a browser at the designated ActiveX port number just produced pages of garbage. Motion detection can be scheduled for specific periods of each day and when triggered will download captured images to an email address of your choosing. We found this actually worked perfectly although the images attached to the message were of poor quality as well.
Basic network shares are easy enough to create and access can be allowed for Windows, Unix and Linux clients as well as over FTP and HTTP. Access restrictions can be applied to selected shares with a local user database and the appliance can become a member of an NT authentication domain. In keeping with most small NAS appliances the WL-700gE functions as an iTunes server. There’s nothing to do here except activate this service whereupon a default folder is created for storing your tracks. Open the iTunes client and the appliance automatically appears in the source list.
The wireless access point offers both WEP and WPA encryption and supports Asus’ BroadRange technology. Previous tests run on the Asus WL-550gE returned modest results that never went above 30Mb/sec although we did observe BroadRange having an impact at greater distances with speeds only dropping to a low of 26.5Mb/sec. If you slot a USB storage device in the front port and press the Copy button on the front panel then all the contents of the device will be automatically copied to a predefined folder on the appliance. We successfully tested this with a 512MB Buffalo FireStix and watched the appliance copy 383MB of data in less than two minutes.
For the sheer number of features the WL-700gE scores highly as packs an awful lot in to its modest dimensions and offers them at a reasonable price. The majority of these worked well during testing although the Download Master and web cam functions are poorly implemented and the user documentation could be more helpful.