EnGenius ESR9850 – affordable router with Wireless N & Gigabit

Using the ESR9850 with my M1 Fibre broadband

Got my paws hands on the EnGenius ESR9850 to replace the D-Link DIR-300 4-Port Wireless-G 54Mbps Router at mum’s place. Others are getting it to replace their D-Link DIR-655 Extreme N Gigabit Wireless Router. The EnGenius ESR9850 is a 300Mbps Wireless N router with Gigabit switch.

So theoretically for internal LAN transfers, you can transfer a 700MB file wirelessly in 19 seconds instead of 2 minutes on Wireless G. The same file transfers over wired Gigabit interface under 6 seconds while it will take close to 1 minute on routers with 100Mbps interface.

Package contents

The contents that came with the ESR9850 package

The ESR9850’s package comes with:

  • ESR9850
  • two detachable 2 dBi antennas
  • power adaptor
  • patch cord
  • installation disc
  • user manual

Connectivity options

The physical interface at the back of ESR9850

The router is housed in a glossy white plastic shell. For the connectivity option:

  • Supports ADSL, Cable and Fibre Internet plans
  • One Gigabit WAN port (10/100/1000Mbps) that you can use to hook up that new >100Mbps Fibre/Cable Internet plan
  • Four Gigabit LAN port (10/100/1000Mbps)  to connect up to four wired devices (computer, media players, NAS, etc)
  • 2.4Ghz Wireless N (300Mbps)  to connect up your wireless gadgets (Apple iPad 2, Nintendo 3DS, Apple TV 2, etc). It is close to 6 times faster than your regular Wireless G router

Features

There are some not-so-common features that are worth mentioning:

  • Upload and Download QoS (Quality of Service). QoS allows you to control the bandwidth a user is entitled to on your network. Basically, you can limit his/her Internet connection if he/she is found to be using those bandwidth hogging applications. For home routers, they usually only come with upload QoS but ESR9850 offers download QoS as well!
  • Bandwidth monitor. You can look at the current bandwidth utilization of your network. It is a nice to have feature and you can use it to figure out your Internet plan bandwidth usage.
  • Define up to four SSIDs. Yes, up to 4 wireless SSIDs can be defined. Each SSID can be configured with different security settings (WEP/WPA/None) and whether to allow/disallow the following three features – WAN access, wireless client isolation, wireless and wired client isolation. One possible use case is to segregate devices into different trust zones, e.g., full access for laptops, wireless tablet probably just need Internet access and don’t need the rest.
  • Handles up to 50,000 connections. I would say – this is A LOT! The Cisco-Linksys WRT610N Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router and D-Link DIR-825 Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router handles up to 200 connections. This beast (EnGenius ESR9850) is advertised to handle up to 50k! I don’t have the means to test this but I guess it must be achievable else they won’t bother printing it on their box.

Speed Test

Well, I didn’t perform these tests since it is readily available. SmallNetBuilder tested the ESR9850 and the results are as such:

  • WAN – LAN: 619Mbps
  • LAN – WAN: 640.0Mbps
  • Simultaneous WAN-LAN and LAN-WAN: 740.3Mbps

Rooms for improvement

I face the following issues when doing this review (hardware: 1.0.0, kernel: 2.0.2, application: 2.0.2):

  • NTP settings cannot be saved. The NTP (Network Time Protocol) settings doesn’t seems to save after clicking on the “Save” button. NTP is to allow the router to keep its system time updated by referring to a internet time server
  • Wireless security key is in clear. Currently, you can see the security key you have set. I would prefer this to be masked though
  • QoS bandwidth  setting cannot be self-defined. Currently, they are prefixed to certain values. For power users, probably the bandwidth can be self-defined

Conclusion

Well, it is a nice affordable wireless router with good feature set – great routing speed, high connections limit, upload and download bandwidth control, multiple SSID with connection control. With such WAN-LAN throughput, it should be sufficient for Fibre plans nowadays. The wireless range of this router is pretty good, I face no problem with wireless connections in my 5-room flat. I reckon that I will get a better wireless connection at the park downstairs if I swap the 2dBi antennas for 5dBi ones.

Where can I get one?

Check out the EnGenius ESR9850 offers on Amazon! While you are there, you might want to check out Apple iPad 2, Nintendo 3DS, and Apple TV 2 to make full use of the router!

Picture gallery

12 thoughts on “EnGenius ESR9850 – affordable router with Wireless N & Gigabit

  • June 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm
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    Interesting timing there, days before the PC Show

  • June 8, 2011 at 7:06 am
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    ykk! In fact, the router has been sitting on the desk for quite some time, only recently I decide to write some thing on it.

    Yes, wanted to finish it before the show because if others feel that it is good, they might be able to pick it up at the show (if it is available).

  • June 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm
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    Just signed up for m1 50mbps! woohooo

  • June 10, 2011 at 12:06 am
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    Richard,

    Cool! Tried some speedtest?

  • June 10, 2011 at 1:14 am
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    hey shadowandy i saw your post post at hardware forum

    can you teach me how to config/bridge the 2wire 2701hgv-e with engenius ESR9850

  • June 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm
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    Johnny,

    If the 2wire is in bridge mode, you just have to treat it as a modem, configure PPPoE on the EnGenius ESR9850.

    As for how to set the 2wire 2701hgv-e into bridge mode, I think you might have to call the helpdesk? I don’t have the 2wire. You might also want to Google around to see if anybody has bridged the 2wire before.

  • June 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm
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    Is this box hackable?

  • June 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm
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    Hi Andy,

    My fiber havent activate yet. waiting for them to come install ont

  • June 13, 2011 at 12:11 am
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    i also waiting for M1 to activate but i know nothing about bridge connection. Can teach me step by step how to do bridge connection of HuaWei HG256 to Engenius 9850?
    Thank you~

  • June 13, 2011 at 11:44 am
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    Hi Taeyeon,

    I am not sure whether the HW can be bridged or not. You got that router because you need digital voice? If you need digital voice, doubt that you can bridge it.

    If you are not using features like digital voice, you can just replace the HW with EnGenius ESR9850.

  • June 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm
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    Hi Andy

    How do you get the bandwidth monitor?

    I have upgraded my firmware to 2.1 but still don’t have…

    I only got the monitor with the 1.0 firmware 🙁

  • June 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm
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    For those who interested to buy it, can go to “MediaPro Technology’ @Sim Lim Square. I got mine there at only $99, cheapest amongst all stores and same price listed in recent IT show.

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