TP-Link Omada EAP650 review: An impressive gigabit performer

SMBs that want an affordable, compact Wi-Fi 6 access point (AP) with a focus on speed will appreciate TP-Link’s Omada EAP650. Costing just £139, this slim ceiling mount access point isn’t much bigger than a smoke alarm and yet combines a speedy AX3000 rating with support for high-performance Wi-Fi 6 channels from 160MHz.

The EAP650 offers speeds of up to 2402 Mbps on its 5 GHz radio and 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz one. Its single LAN port supports PoE+, but if you don’t have a power source available, the case also includes an external power supply. The only problem is that the port is Gigabit, so you won’t see the full potential of the 160 MHz channels.

On the plus side, the EAP650 combines plenty of business-class features with two management choices. You can use it in standalone mode, but most businesses will prefer TP-Link’s Omada cloud service because they can manage multiple sites, all associated access points and other Omada-enabled switches and routers from anywhere. a web portal. Each site requires an Omada cloud controller, and TP-Link offers free software versions for Windows and Linux that support up to 1,500 managed devices.

For testing, we used the lab’s OC300 hardware appliance, which runs the Linux controller version, supports 700 devices and costs around £100. For the full Omada experience, we’ve added TP-Link’s TL-R605 Broadband Router, which costs £40 and powered the EAP650 with a TL-SG3210XHP-M2 Multi-Gigabit PoE+ Switch, which adds £286 to the invoice.

After the EAP650 was powered up and connected, it appeared in our cloud portal as “pending” and when it was adopted, it pulled all of its settings from the controller and broadcast our predefined site SSIDs. You can create the same number of SSIDs as in standalone mode – up to eight per radio – and apply WPA2/WPA3 mixed-mode encryption, rate limits, and load balancing.

The portal involves the mesh, where a wired access point functions as the root and other compliant access points connect to it using their 5 GHz radio as the link. You can expand your wireless network at scale because mesh APs can connect to other nodes with up to three hops between them and the root AP.

To test the mesh, we placed a TP-Link EAP620 HD near the EAP650 with power supplied but no wired network connection. It appeared on the portal as pending, with an additional icon indicating a wireless link to the root access point, and its adoption instantly created a mesh network allowing users to roam seamlessly across all points member access.

The cloud portal also offers elegant captive portal functionality for managing guest wireless access. Authentication methods include password, local user, voucher, Radius, Facebook or SMS using the paid service, and you can add your own background images and brand logos, apply policies Acceptable Use Terms (AUPs), browse up to five ad images, and showcase PC and mobile-friendly portal versions.

For our real-world performance tests, we used a Dell Windows 10 Pro workstation with a TP-Link Archer TX3000E Wi-Fi 6 PCI-E adapter, which uses an Intel AX200 chip that supports all Wi-Fi 6 channels. With the access point’s 80 MHz channels enabled from the cloud portal, the close copies of a 25 GB test file between the workstation and a server on our 10 GbE LAN have averaged 109MB/s. This dropped to 97MB/sec with the access point ten meters away.

With the access point’s 160 MHz channels enabled, the workstation reported a 2.4 Gbps wireless connection. Unsurprisingly, our file copies maxed out the access point’s gigabit port and only increased to 113MB/sec at close range and 111MB/sec at ten meters.

It’s a shame the EAP650 doesn’t come with a 2.5GbE LAN port, but it still delivers impressive performance over Gigabit that will satisfy all but the most demanding environments. It offers plenty of wireless features, including mesh, all easily managed from the Omada cloud portal, and for an AX3000-rated Wi-Fi 6 hotspot, it’s excellent value for money too.

TP-Link Omada EAP650 Specifications

Band support

AX3000 dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11ax

radio stations

2 x dual band internal antennas

Ports

Gigabit LAN/802.3at PoE+

Additional Features

Ceiling mounting plate, AC adapter included

Dimensions (LDH)

160x160x34mm

lester

395g

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Harry D. Gonzalez