Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

EnGenius EWS850AP Review: An Excellent Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 Access Point

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 19
The EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Outdoor Access Point on a rainy day.

EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Wireless Wi-Fi 6 Access Point, first announced early last year, is very different from the ECW230 that I reviewed last year. And that’s a good thing.

Indeed, the new Wi-Fi 6 access point comes with everything to work right out of the box, is much more affordable, and was faster in my testing. It’s also a tough device that can handle the elements well and, most importantly, doesn’t require an account with the vendor to work.

On the downside, though, it has relatively subdued Wi-Fi specs. But at the current cost of some $330, it’s well worth the investment for those needing to blanket a large outdoor area with reliable Wi-Fi.

EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor Wireless Wi-Fi 6 Access Point

$329.60
8.3

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable performance, excellent coverage
  • Full web interface that's responsive and comprehensive
  • Includes all parts and accessories to work right out of the box
  • Weatherproof
  • Convenient mobile app
  • 2.5 Gbps PoE network port

Cons

  • No 160 MHz channel width support
  • Included PoE injector caps at 1Gbps
  • No web portal sign-in option for Guest Wi-Fi
  • Bulky, no separate power port

EnGenius EWS850AP: A simple and effective approach to outdoor Wi-Fi coverage

After reviewing the ECW230 that doesn’t include a power adapter or a PoE injector, I found the EnGenious EWS850AP a nice surprise. Indeed, you won’t have any issue with getting this new access point up and running, at least in terms of hardware parts.

Convenient but bulky design, lots of amounting options, weather-proof

The AP doesn’t have an AC port — the only way to power it is via Power over Ethernet. And that’s good. As an access point, you’d need to use a network cable with it anyway.

Supporting all existing PoE standards, the EWS850AP will work with any PoE switch. Just make sure you have one with a Gigabit (or faster) PoE port.

READ  Power over Ethernet Explained: What's PoE and Why It's Totally Cool

But it’s OK if you don’t have such a switch. Out of the box, the access point has everything you’d need. There is a passive (proprietary) 38-Watt Gigabit PoE injector (model EPA5006GR). You’ll also find accessories for any mounting surface — a fence, a wall, or even a pole.

EnGenius EWS850AP PoE Adapter 1
EnGenius EWS850AP PoE Adapter 1

The EWS850AP sure is big, though, as you’ll see in the photos below. It comes with four detachable antennas, two on top and two on the bottom. When assembled, the antennas make the whole package even bulkier. On top of that, the AP is heavy, too, at 3.96 lbs (1.8kg), thanks to the metal housing. Keep that in mind when finding a mounting place.

To make up for physical size, the AP is P67-compliant. It can handle any weather.

EnGenius EWS850AP: Hardware specifications

The EnGenius EWS850AP features dual-stream (2×2) Wi-Fi 6 without the support for the 160MHz channel width.

As a result, its 5GHz band caps at 1201Mbps when working with a Wi-Fi 6 client or 867Mbps with a Wi-Fi 5 one. On the 2.4Hz band, it has a ceiling speed of 576Mbps.

NameEnGenious EWS850AP
2×2 Wi-Fi 6
Outdoor Wireless AP
ModelsEWS850AP
Standards802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Roaming802.11k & 802.11r
Frequency2.4 GHz & 5 GHz
Channel Widths20/40/80MHz
Streams2 x 2
2.4 GHz Data Rate574Mbps (Wi-Fi 6), 
300Mbps (Wi-Fi 4)
5 GHz Data Rate1201Mbps (Wi-Fi 6), 
867Mbps (Wi-Fi 5)
2.4GHz RF 
Output Power 
23 dBm
5GHz RF 
Output Power 
23 dBm
1024QAM SupportYes
SSIDs8 (4 on each band)
Wi-Fi SecurityWPA3/WPA2 Enterprise/PSK
Ethernet Ports1 x 2.5Gbps BASE-T RJ-45 Port
Power-over-EthernetIEEE 802.11af/at/11e, 
Passive 48V to 54V PoE injector
(included)
Power Consumption 12.6W
External Antenna2x 5 dBi @ 2.4 GHz, 
2x 5 dBi @ 5 GHz
Dimensions
(without antennas)
9.2 x 11.18 x 5.67 in 
(234 x 284 x 144 mm)
Weight3.96 lbs. (1.8kg)
RuggednessP67-rated
CPUQualcomm Quad-Core 1.8GHz CPU
ARM Cortex A53s 
Operation ModesAccess Point, Client Bridge, 
Mesh, WDSs
BSS ColoringYes
MU-MIMO / OFDMAYes (Uplink and Downlink)
EnGenius EWS850AP Outdoor PoE Access Point’s hardware specifications

The access point comes with a total of eight virtual SSIDs (Wi-Fi network names), four for each band. You can customize each with lots of options. In other words, it’s great for those needing to segment their networks.

EnGenius EWS850AP: Detail photos

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 10
The EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point’s retail box.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 11
Out of the box, The EnGenius EWS850AP includes everything you’d need to get it up and running, including a passive PoE injector.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 13
The EnGenius EWS850AP itself is quite large.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 6
It comes with two antenna connectors on top.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 14
And another two on the underside. Note the recessed PoE LAN port. You will need a tool, like a screwdriver, to remove the connected network cable –there’s no way to put a finger on the latch that lock the connector in place.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 15
With the antennas assembled, The EnGenius EWS850AP is very bulky.

EnGenius EWS850AP PoE Adapter 2
The included PoE injector (model EAP5006GR) comes with two Gigabit LAN port, one is PoE.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 16
The underside of the PoE injector. You can mount it on a wall, too and mounting screws are included.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 12
The backside of the EnGenius EWS850AP. Note the mounting grooves and the Management SSID.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 21
The EnGenius EWS850AP make an excellent Wi Fi 6 outdoor Wi-Fi solution.

The straight forward setup process, helpful mobile app, convenient web interface

Setting up the EnGenius EWS850AP typifies that of any PoE access point.

Hardware setup

  1. Mount the AP using the included accessories. Pick a place that’s as close to the center of the area you want to blanket with Wi-Fi as possible.
  2. Connect a network cable (CAT5e or higher grade) to its only port. (Note: This port, on the AP’s underside, is recessed for weather-proofing purposes, making it a bit hard to remove the cable. That said, make sure you use a cable of the desired length the first time around.)
  3. Connect the other end of the network cable to the PoE port to the PoE switch or the included injector. In the latter case, connect the injector’s other network port to an existing network, such as a router, then plug it into power.

And that’s its mission accomplished. Now you need to set up the AP’s Wi-Fi.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi 6 Access Point 1
The EnGenius EWS850AP’s included mounting accessory is well designed. Note the screw that will keep the AP tightly attached when amounted.

Wi-Fi setup

This part can be done via the EWS850AP’s web interface, just like you do any standard Wi-Fi router. Out of the box, the AP has an open “Management SSID” — a Wi-Fi network — as printed on its backside you can use for the setup process.

The only tricky part is to access this interface. That’s because, like all APs, the EnGenius EWS850AP gets an IP address from the network’s router, so this address varies depending on the existing network. That said, you’ll first need to find out what it is via the existing router’s web interface, as I detailed in this post on IP addresses.

EnGenius EnWiFi Mobile App
Among other things, the EnGenius EnWiFi Mobile App will detect the AP and show its IP address.

Alternatively, and probably the easiest, you can use the EnWiFi mobile app. First, connect the mobile device to the existing Wi-Fi network or the Management SSID of the EWS850AP as mentioned above. Now, launch the app and it will detect the AP within the network — assuming your mobile device is and show its IP address. You then use it to access the interface with a computer.

(The app is a handy local tool — it doesn’t’ require a login account with EnGenious — that allows for setting up some of the AP’s settings. I always prefer the web interface, however.)

And that’s now, from a connected computer, navigate a browser to the IP address, which was 192.168.88.243 in my case as shown in the screenshot, and log in with the default account which is admin for both username and password. The rest is self-explanatory.

Lots of Wi-Fi and network options, no web portal for guest sign-in

Like all business APs, the EnGenius EWS850AP comes with lots of Wi-Fi settings and other options for users to customize each of its eight Wi-Fi networks to the max.

These include the ability to set up band steering, client isolation, VLAN, limit the download/upload speed of each band, so on and so forth. There are also all available options in terms of wireless security and entheication methods. And when multiple units are in use, you can also make them work together as a mesh. (I had only one unit and didn’t test this feature out.)

EnGenius EWS850AP Web Interface
The EnGenius EWS850AP’s Web Interface allows for lots of settings and customization.

But the EnGenius EWS850AP doesn’t have everything. For example, I was a bit disappointed to see it has no option for a guest Wi-Fi web-portal, where a client needs to agree on certain terms before getting connected.

The web sign-in portal is a popular and useful option if you want to provide a public hotspot, and the much cheaper TP-Link Wi-Fi 5 access point has this option.

EnGenius EWS850AP: Excellent performance

I tested the EnGenius EWS850AP for over a week, most of which it was out in the rain, and I was happy with it. The AP handled the wet weather very well and proved to be reliable. In fact, we had no issue at all, at least during the time we were outside.

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi6 Performance

When indoor, the access point had about the same range as that of a high-end router, like the Asus RT-AX86U. Outdoor, though, its range was much better. I was able to get a good connection from some 150 feet away. So, conservatively you can expect it to blanket about 5000 ft2 (465 m2) of open space.

As for throughput speeds, the EnGenius EWS850AP performed as expected for 2×2 broadcaster without the support for the 160MHz channel with.

(Note: The AP does have a 2.5Gbps port. However, the included is a Gigabit PoE injector. As a result, it connects to the existing network at 1Gbps at best.)

EnGenius EWS850AP Wi Fi5 Performance

I stacked it up against other standalone Wi-Fi 6 routers, and it proved to be quite formidable. Most interestingly, it was clearly faster than the more expensive ECW230AP, averaging between some 515Mbps and 770Mbps up to 40 feet (12 m) away on a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client.

The access point did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients, too. My 3×3 test device registered the sustained speed of some 547Mbps at a close range of fewer than 10 feet (3 m). At 40 feet away, it still got some 520Mbps.

EnGenius EWS850AP 2 4GHz Performance
EnGenius EWS850AP 2 4GHz Performance

And finally, on the 2.4Ghz, the EnGenius EWS850AP did comparatively the best, among the top five Wi-Fi 6 broadcasters I’ve tested. It’s safe to say, if you have a 250Mbps broadband speed, this AP can deliver it in full for a large outdoor area.

Conclusion

EnGenius EWS850AP is a simple Outdoor Wireless Wi-Fi 6 Access Point that gets the job done. If you’re looking to blanket a large outdoor area, like a small park, a motel, or a huge backyard, it will make an excellent investment for the current price of less than $350. Get it.

10 thoughts on “EnGenius EWS850AP Review: An Excellent Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 Access Point”

  1. Hi Dong

    I have an Ax86u in my brick house. But I’d like WiFi outside too. I’ve tried another 86u near the back yard exterior wall and it created interference issues inside the house (but coverage outside was good).

    What AP would you recommend to use outside with an Ax86u inside? Would this one be good?

    And would you keep the SSID the same or different?

    Thanks!

    Reply

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