My company is moving to a new office in about a month that won’t have wire drops in the walls for the workstations. The office currently has a wireless network, although almost all of the machines use a wired connection.
My current task is to get a connection out to everyone. One option is to buy a wireless card for every machine, but this won’t work in the long run because each workstation also has an IP phone which uses a wired connection. Instead of getting wireless cards for each machine as well as replace all of the IP phones with wireless versions. A wireless bridge seems to fit the bill nicely. Both the computer and phone can connect and if workstations are close enough together, they can share a wireless bridge. The less devices to buy, the better.
This effectively creates a network drop that doesn’t need wires running through the wall to use it. I am also able to keep the WPA settings on the device itself and not have to have the computers themselves managing the connection.
I went out looking a different products starting with these requirements.
- 802.11n - Our wireless network supports 802.11n, so I’ll want the bridge to as well, so the wireless doesn’t bottleneck the speed as much as possible
- Gigabit ethernet
- 4 wired ethernet ports - allows 2 workstations (2 computers and 2 phones) without the need of extra switches
- WPA2 encryption - most support this these days, but it is still a requirement.
I was able to find 2 devices that fit the bill nicely.
- TRENDnet 300 Mbps Wireless N 4-Port Media Bridge TEW-640MB
- D-Link DAP-1522 Xtreme 4-Port GigaBit Selectable Dual Band Draft 802.11n N Duo Wireless Bridge/Access Point
Both of these are very similar as far as features go. I ended up buying a D-Link to try out on a trial run. It seems to have better reviews and is a more popular device than the TRENDnet. I’ll give it a try for awhile with just the one device to see how it works out. If it ends up going well, I’ll get more of them. If not, then I’ll give the TRENDnet a try and see how that goes.