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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I’m reminded again and again why professional networking equipment is so much better than consumer-grade shit (read anything with the word “access point” or “router” in its name made by Netgear, Linksys, or D-Link that costs less than $150).

The access point that I ordered a month ago was finally drop-shipped and arrived yesterday.

To digress, I went 21 days before I wrote Tiger Direct and said “yo, what’s happening with this order? Amazon billed me the day I ordered it and I’ve heard nothing from you guys!” The response was that these normally ship in a few business days from the manufacturer once an order has been placed, when I pointed out that it’s been three weeks they seemed befuddled, and mysteriously I received a shipping notice two days later. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this strikes me as yet another case of Amazon’s extremely poor ecommerce integration with third-party vendors (of course there was no way to check order status from Amazon other than “contact these guys”). I have a sneaking suspicion this thing was just sitting in somebody’s queue until I wrote to ask for help.

Anyhow, the DWL-3200AP arrived yesterday. The first thing you notice is that it’s heavy. It’s made of metal. It includes mounting hardware. It feels like equipment, not like a toy. It has SNMP. It has two antennas. Usable antennas. It works via PoE (my deployment) or direct wallwart plug (inconvenient where it’s currently placed). It just freaking works. It supports WPA enterprise (granted, my radius server is used for captive portal authentication via m0n0wall, and I just leave everything wide open). Despite the large amount of interference in our location (I blame the presence of a nearby microwave transmitter tower and a whole bunch of “linksys” “default” and “wireless” networks polluting the airwaves), I get a usable signal (read: I can play Warcraft downstairs, with only a slight latency increase over wired) throughout the house. We’ll see how it works in the long run, but I’m quite happy to this point.

Of course, this isn’t without downsides. It uses the exact same retarded web interface as other D-Link products. Granted, it has useful features there, but the presence of a “Run Wizard!” button just bothers me on professional equipment. I guess this is geared towards monkeys like me that want to use useful networking equipment, but don’t know what they’re doing. There are management tools, but most are oriented towards Windows. The telnet configuration interface works fine. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t documented anywhere in the printed literature that comes with the device. The PoE injector is just from the surplus parts bin; I suspect their goal is to just plug it into one of their managed enterprise-grade PoE switches.