Akin to one component in a stereo component system, the Netgear Wireless-N Access Point, model WN802T is one such component in a componentized computer networking system. While it does not offer cable or DSL modem functions, routing functions from WAN to LAN networks, or DHCP-based IP address allocation, what it does do, it does quite well. That is: It adds highly stable Wifi wireless network functionality to an Ethernet based home or small office network. If you already have DHCP, modem, and routers present, and you wish not to pay for redundant functions that you will not use anyway, then the WN802T is for you. This is a dedicated Wifi access point only. This, in our estimation, yields better performance and reliability, and enhanced simplicity to use. You give it Ethernet, and it gives you Wifi back.
Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages
- Included Components. The package contains the WAP, the 12-volt, 1A switching power adapter, support documents CD, and a snap-on base that provides better free-standing of the access point. Without this piece in place, the WAP tends to fall over too easily.
- Few Connections. Has just two; the Ethernet connection and the power connector.
- Typical Power Requirements. Requires 12 volts DC at 1 Amp (12 watts).
- Fast Bootup. Boots up in under 30 seconds.
- Cool Operation. Runs cool to low-lukewarm, without any fans inside to suck in dust or to break down.
- Whole Home Wireless Coverage. Provided reliable Wifi coverage in our 1.5 story Cape Cod home, and this includes the porches outside as well as the basement.
- More Range and Faster Data Rates. The package states that this access point can provide up to a 15x data rate improvement over pre N wireless. Up to 300 Mbps data throughput here.
- Internal Antennas. While the multiple, smart internal antennas here help to, “take the guesswork out of antenna setup,” the absence of external antennas may be problematic in high-interference situations, where higher-gain antennas are need to improve the signal-to-noise ratio.
- Web-based Setup and Configuration Interface. The administrative id and password can be set here, as well as the wireless settings such as SSID, network key, WDS options, et al.
- WPA2 Support. Provides state of the art, business-class device authentication.
- MAC Address Fencing. You can allow or deny specific wireless devices, based on their MAC (Media Access Control) addresses.
- Traffic Prioritization. Provides WMM support. Multimedia wireless devices work more reliability due to this, and the WAP may consumes less power in certain scenarios.
- WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Access) Support.
- SSID (Service Set Identifier) Broadcast Disable. You can disable the broadcasting of the SSID, for increased wireless security.
- WDS (Wi-Fi Distribution System) Support. Supports point-to-point and point-to-multipoint network configurations. Can act as a network range extender (repeater). Can also act as a wireless client, supplying an Ethernet interface to your existing wireless network. Have operated this WAP in both modes with great success.
- 24 / 7 Customer Service. Get this by calling 1-888-NET-GEAR (1-888-638-4327). You can also email them at info@NETGEAR.COM.
- RangeMax Compatible. The Wn802T V2 works well with, and is recommended by Netgear, their RangeMax line of client network cards and modules for laptops, desktop PCs, USB dongles, and ExpressCards.
Disadvantages, Cons, Limitations, and Disadvantages
- No external antennas. The antenna(s) are located inside the plastic case. So to adjust for best reception among your wireless devices, you must reposition this WAP itself. Accessory antennas not supported.
- Non upgradable antenna. Also, no external antennas means, at least in the case of THIS product, no external antenna connectors. So you cannot easily upgrade the aerials to say, longer and higher DB gain models.
- Manually Assigned IP Address. Some newer access points and Wifi routers allow you to administer and configure them via a web-based interface (their own little web sites). You access this site by connecting the WAP / router to your network, and then, on a computer that is also connected to the same network, you go to a specified URL, such as http://192.168.0.1/ or http://192.168.1.1/ For this particular access point, the default URL is http://192.168.0.233/
- Default Settings Listed on Back. The default admin URL as well as the login Id and password are printed on the back panel.
- Provides only a Draft N Implementation. Supports 802.11 N, Draft 2.0 specification. The box is copyright 2009. So this qualifies as an OLDER access point. Many improvements have been made to the Wireless N standards, as well as to the hardware that implements it since then. So, unless you have an affinity for this particular WAP or some very advanced requirements that today’s access points do not address, your best bet is to purchase a newer WAP.
- Difficult to Set Up. Since this unit contains a hard-coded default IP address, it’s safer not to connect it to your home Ethernet until AFTER performing the initial setup. Yet you need to access the web based setup interface in this WAP. So, to do that, you must unplug a computer from your existing network, then assign that computer a manual IP address, plug its Ethernet cable into the WN802T V2. Now, your computer is on a very small network, that is hosted by the WNT802T V2, and you can then enter the setup URL address (http://192.168.1.233), and then make any configuration changes from the defaults, to fit this device into your existing network. Then, once finished configuring the WAP, you have to reconfigure your computer (back to its original network settings, which likely involved getting its IP address via DHCP), plug it back into the network, and finally, plug the WAP into the network as well. Complicated, and easy to screw up. Some of today’s better access points however, by default, receive their IP addresses via DHCP on the hosting network, and then they provide a device discovery tool, to aid the user in getting that address. Even without this tool however, if you’re familiar with how to view your router’s Attached Devices list, you can usually find the access point in that list, since its address was allocated by your DHCP server. Much simpler procedure, and it would have been great if they’d implemented that in the WN802T.
- No 5 Ghz. Operation. The WN802T V2 operates only in the 2.4 Ghz band. This is therefore, a single-band Wifi access point. Most better WAPs today feature dual-band or even tri-band capabilities.
- Not for Novice Users. Why? Because the initial setup can be tricky, as it risks rendering your home computer unable to access the Internet if you don’t properly execute the required IP changes on it, in order to access the Wn802T initially.
- No Metal Case. Netgear hubs, switches, and some wireless routers, feature an all-metal case construction, that provides maximal shielding against radio interference with other devices. But they chose to encase this WAP in plastic. Presumably therefore, they’ve provided adequate internal shielding. That seems to be true, as we’ve never experienced any interference from this device, degrading the performance of other devices around the office.
- Obsolete. This product has reached its end-of-life in the Netgear support lifecycle. So if you require a better range, more current access point, you’d do well to purchase a more recent wifi router. We bought the Asus RT-AT87R router and access point, and the performance increases were phenomenal.
- If you change the default IP address of this access point during setup, be sure that the new address you give it is within the same segment(s) as the other computers and devices on your network. Otherwise, you won’t be able to access the WN802T administrative pages once the unit is connected to your network. E.g. If your network IP addresses all begin with 192.168.0, then the address you give this WAP should also begin with 192.168.0.
- If you change this address, be sure to write the new one down, because you may not be able to find it in your router’s attached devices list
This WAP is so light and simple to operate, once you get it set up, that we often take it with us, on the road, and plug it right into Ethernets of friends and colleagues we’re visiting. This way, we don’t have to ask them for the wifi passwords for their wireless networks, since we already have the passwords for THIS access point, programmed into our wireless devices. As long as their IP network begins with the same three numbers in their home IP addresses, and they don’t have another device using the same IP address as this WAP, it works great as an portable wireless LAN network. Plus, it will work on almost ANY network, regardless of net mask and base IP address settings, if you don’t mind not accessing the admin functions until you get it back home. If you’ve got networking expertise, the WN802T offers granular and exceptional wireless functionality, and is a good value at less than $100 these days. We’ve owned ours since 2012 now, and are 95 percent happy with it. So we’d rate it at 95 out of 100.
- 2015-12-12: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-01-10: Added the obsolescence bullet to the Disadvantages section above, and a link to our Asus rt-at874 router review page.
- 2014-11-30: Originally published.