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EnGenius ESR-9850 Wireless Router


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Introduction

Shopping for a wireless router can be a bit of a gamblet at times; every last one promises you the world, and problems can crop up with alarming frequency. Shopping for a wireless router with a small budget is an even riskier proposition, as manufacturers tend to cut corners to drive down their costs.
Wading into this sea of uncertainty is a relatively unknown manufactuer, EnGenius. Their history is more with telephony than with networking gear, but this latest router they’ve sent us, the ESR-9850, shows some promise. Let’s see if it can hold up when it counts.

A Closer Look

box-front

So far, so standard. The key phrases to pay attention to here are “2.4GHz”, “300Mbps Wireless N” and “Gigabit Router”. “50000 Sessions” is also interesting.

box-rear

The back expands upon the features touted on the front. The advertised support for 50,000 simultaneous connections should be a boon for anyone who regularly uses BitTorrent or similar P2P software.

box-open-1

Opening the box up, we see what has become an increasingly common sight with consumer hardware: a setup CD and a scrap of paper with the bare minimum instructions to get said CD running.

box-open-2

Under those, we see the router itself, wrapped in a plastic bag and wedged into place with a cardboard insert, which also contains the other accessories.

router-and-accessories

Clearing away the packaging, we are left with the router itself, an AC adapter, a short straight-through Cat5e patch cable, two screw-on antennas, and a pair of screws and drywall anchors for wall-mounting the router. On the router itself, we see a number of status lights across the top front, as well as a recessed button for activating WPS synchronization. More on that later.

router-back

With a device like this, all the interesting bits are in the back. Flanking the ports on either side are a pair of antenna posts. Since these are standard SMA connectors, those in more challenging radio environments could opt to ditch the included antennas in favor of larger, higher-gain ones. Aside from that, we have the power plug, a reset button, and five Gigabit Ethernet ports, four for LAN and one for the WAN uplink. In an unusually helpful gesture, EnGenius has color-coded each group, making it easier to tell at a glance which is which.

router-bottom

On bottom, we see both the wall-mount notches in the case and a sticker that gives you all the basic info you need to get the router up and configured including default router IP, user name and password. The blurred-out portion contains the router’s serial number and MAC address, which I don’t want to broadcast to the world for obvious reasons.

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