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TP-Link Omada EAP620 HD review: No speed demon

SMBs looking to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 on a tight budget will find a lot to like about TP-Link’s Omada EAP620 HD. For a modest outlay of £136, this dual-band access point offers a full set of business features, including the same cloud management services found on much more expensive models.

As you’d expect at this price, it’s not the best performer. It carries an AX1800 rating, consisting of 1,201 Mbits/sec on its 5 GHz radio and 574 Mbits/sec on the 2.4 GHz band. These are theoretical maximums, but there’s still a definite performance gap between this and an AX3600-rated AP like Netgear’s WAX620. When copying large files between a Windows 10 Pro workstation equipped with a TP-Link Archer TX3000E Wi-Fi 6 PCI-E adapter and a server on our 10GbE LAN, we saw average transfer speeds of 87 MB/s at close range, which is 32% slower than what we’ve seen previously with TP-Link’s AX3600-rated EAP660 HD. Moving the EAP620 HD a distance of ten meters, our test speeds dropped to 68MB/s, which is 41% slower than the AX3600 model.

While the EAP620 HD isn’t a speed demon, it offers plenty of features and two management choices. In standalone mode, its web-based console presents a quick-start wizard that asks you to create a new administrative user and password, sensibly deletes the default administrator account, and walks you through creating your first two secure wireless networks.

Up to eight SSIDs can be assigned to each radio, and for added security, you can apply WPA3/WPA2 mixed-mode encryption to each. Custom rate limits can be assigned to specific SSIDs, load balancing allows you to limit the number of clients that can associate with the access point, and enabling the guest network option ensures that users wireless cannot access systems on the local network.

For multi-AP deployments, it makes sense to use TP-Link’s Omada cloud management platform. For this, each site requires a TP-Link controller, which connects to your cloud portal account. TP-Link provides free controller software for Windows and Linux, but for testing we used the dedicated OC300 hardware appliance, which costs around £110.

To take advantage of the cloud feature set, we connected the EAP620 HD to a TP-Link TL-R605 broadband router and powered it from a TL-SG3210XHP-M2 Multi-Gigabit PoE+ Switch. It might seem like a lot of extra expense, but the router is just £39, while the switch is a very reasonable £262, and using both means you can manage your entire network from one portal cloud.

After turning on the EAP620 HD, it appeared in the cloud console as “pending”; once passed, it quickly pulled all the wireless settings from the controller and started broadcasting our set SSIDs. The cloud configuration supports the same eight SSIDs as the standalone mode, with all the same features such as mixed WPA3/WPA2 encryption, rate limits, and load balancing.

The cloud portal is a nice deal, with a customizable dashboard that reveals everything you need to know about your network, like wireless summaries, customer distribution, most active customers, and wireless traffic. Select a switch, router, or access point and a panel appears on the right with options to view all of its details, configure it remotely, and upgrade its firmware.

Cloud management also opens up more captive portal functionality than standalone mode. You can require password, local user, coupon, RADIUS, or Facebook authentication, customize your portal with branded images and logos, post acceptable use policies, and create desktop and mobile portals.

The EAP620 HD is clearly not for SMBs who want top Wi-Fi 6 performance and coverage, but it scores well for its competitive price. It offers plenty of enterprise-class features, with TP-Link’s software and hardware controllers providing top-notch network management.

Specifications TP-Link Omada EAP620 HD

Band Support

AX1800 dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11ax

radio stations

Internal antennas

Ports

Gigabit LAN/802.3at PoE+

Additional Features

Ceiling/wall mounting kits, external power supply included

Dimensions (LDH)

243 x 243 x 64mm

Weight

680g

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