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Multi-Tech RoutFinder Wireless Router/Access Point

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 Author: Tim Higgins
 Review Date: 8/22/2001

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 Model: RF802EW


- COM port supports both PPP dialup Internet connection and dial-in RAS
- Good logging and hack protection
- Good radio and non-WEP performance


- Limited support for non-Windows management
- No port range forwarding
- 60% WEP-enabled throughput decrease



Review Updates

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The Basics

  • PowerLink and Activity for LAN

  • Link and Activity for Wireless

  • Link and Activity for Serial

  • Link and Activity for WAN

  • Power

  • Status

  • One RJ45 10BaseT for the WAN

  • One RJ45 auto sensing 10/100BaseT LAN

  • Power

  • RS232 Serial DB9F

Comes with
  • System CD with manuals, drivers, software

  • Tucows CD

  • Power Supply (100-240V "brick")

  • printed Quick Start Guide

  • Hardware Reset switch

  • Uplink or Normal / Crossover switch for LAN Port

  • Two non-removable dipole antennas



The RF802EW is an 802.11b wireless version of Multi-Tech's RouteFinder 500S.  Its dial-in RAS capability is interesting, but there are some negatives that may keep it off your shopping list...


Setup and Administration

As was the case with the RouteFinder 500S that I reviewed last December, the 802EW does not have a web-based administration interface. Administration is done either via three Windows applications, or you can use the Telnet interface to access some, but not all of the features.

RouteFinder Manager - Main Screen

The use of these Windows applications was disappointing, given the state of the art in inexpensive routing design.  I'd really like to see a browser based admin interface for the RouteFinder product line, but at a minimum, Multi-Tech should integrate the separate Monitor and Manager applications into one to improve ease of use.  The Manager could also use some reorganization, separating out some of the functions from the General Settings category.  Important features such as Virtual Servers and Remote Access should have their own category buttons to make them easier to find.


Routing Features

The 802EW's routing feature set is pretty much the same as the RF500's, including the ability to use the serial port as either a WAN connection or for dial-in RAS access (you supply the modem).  This makes the 802EW the only wireless router that I know of with a built-in RAS!

Note that the 802EW's firmware incorporates improvements made to the RF500 in its 4.48 firmware update.  This means that support for IPsec and PPTP client passthru has been added, along with H.323/Netmeeting support.  A 30 day trial for TZO's Dynamic DNS service is also bundled with the 802EW, which can be handy if you host any servers.

On the negative side, you're still limited to single port mapping, however, and the 32 port limit can get eaten up pretty quickly if you run gaming and other applications.  You also can't temporarily disable any mappings, you have to delete them.

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