Any comparable alternatives to TP-Link TL-WA5210G or TL-WA7210N?

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by cl, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. cl

    cl Guest

    I have a TP-Link TL-WA5210 which I am using in 'WISP Client' mode to
    connect to public WiFi hotsposts like BTWifi (was Openzone and FON).

    I now need a second one for a similar application and I was wondering
    if there are any obvious alternatives that I might be missing as,
    although the TP-Link one is OK, it does have a few little quirks that
    other similar devices might avoid.

    The facilities I need are:-

    Ability to work in WISP Client mode, i.e. can 'pass on' the
    connection from a WiFi hotspot to a local system which either
    doesn't have WiFi itself or (more likely) doesn't have the
    required range.

    Some sort of means for checking/maximising signal strength, using
    directional aerial or whatever.

    The things that could be improved on the TL-WA5210G (and presumably
    the TL-WA7210N which is very similar but does 11N as well as 11G) are:-

    Make it easier to select which WiFi hotspot to connect to, the
    TL-WA5210G's 'survey' just presents one with a list of every WiFi
    signal it can see with no way of sorting or filtering. In one
    place I'm using it there are well over 100 signals and it's very
    difficult to sort out the best of, say, the BT signals.

    The TL-WA5210G has only one ethernet port (i.e. it doesn't have an
    internal switch) so one needs either a switch or a router attached
    to it if it's to be used with more than one system. (The
    TL-WA5210G can operate in a different mode where it is both a WISP
    Client *and* a WiFi router itself but since this involves time
    multiplexing the two modes it's not ideal)

    The signal/aerial checking ability of the TL-WA5210G is fairly
    rudimentary, in particular it only works once the TL-WA5210G has
    actually connected to the SSID being used. With a weak signal
    this is a bit of a catch 22 situation because you can't use the
    tools to improve the weak signal.
    cl, Mar 15, 2014
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  2. cl

    cl Guest

    I just searched for this expecting a silly price but it's actually
    cheaper than the TP-Link ones. I'll dig some further, thank you!
    cl, Mar 15, 2014
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  3. cl

    cl Guest

    However, even though the Mikrotik devices look interesting there are
    some fundamental bits missing for my application:-

    As far as I can see it doesn't seem to be able to function as a
    client to another AP, at least I couldn't find anything about
    using it like this in the documentation.

    There appear to be no facilities for scanning for wireless APs in
    range, nor for aligning aerials etc.
    cl, Mar 15, 2014
  4. cl

    cl Guest

    Yes, I did find it a little 'quirky' shall we say. I wasn't
    absolutely sure it couldn't be a Wireless Client but the section that
    talked about "Wireless Client" seemed to be all about setting up
    clients to use the Mikrotik.

    OK, I've looked at that page and while it seems to confirm that the
    Mikrotik router can do what I want it doesn't tell me much about it
    does it! :)

    The Network Scan doesn't offer any more than the TP-Link one. This is
    one of my very specific problems, how to sort out a hotspot to use
    when there are well over 100 available.

    I couldn't see how the spectrum scanning would really help, though it
    might I suppose. A directional antenna *is* very useful though
    because it can help minimise unwanted signals as well as improve the
    wanted ones.
    Not always a good approach (generic software packages), I'd be much
    happier with something that did one job well - the original Unix
    philosophy. Part of the problem with the Microtik software is simply
    that it's a single program trying to do everything possible.

    I may well do so, thanks.
    cl, Mar 15, 2014
  5. cl

    cl Guest

    As I said in my original posting what I need isn't more parameters but
    a way to filter what is shown. What would be ideal would be ways to:-

    * filter out all the signals below a certain level
    * select specific SSIDs (preferably using an RE)
    * select only unencrypted/open SSIDs
    Directional <> External. The TP-Link (and other similar) external APs
    are weatherproof with a directional aerial inside the housing. Stick
    on a pole and rotate the pole to point it in the required direction.

    Nearly all routers (and similar) devices now use a Linux kernel, that
    doesn't mean what the user sees has to be complex.
    cl, Mar 16, 2014
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