HP V-M200 review: HP V-M200

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Typical Price: $229.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Everything from 802.11a to 5GHz n. Great 5GHz performance. Excellent UI and management tools. Power over Ethernet capable.

The Bad Top-end consumer routers outperform it in 2.4GHz. Not simultaneous dual band.

The Bottom Line If you need to spread your wireless signal as well as have extra administrative powers, HP's V-M200 should absolutely have a look-in.

8.0 Overall

Now this is a router. Or, specifically, a wireless access point. You can tell because it's boxy, white and makes no pretensions about wanting to live in the lounge room. The three physical aerials are also a dead giveaway. It can also be wall mounted, unlike Cisco-formerly-known-as-Linksys' "entertainment" routers.

Dig a little deeper, and you'll find that it runs on Linux, too, something that is rather advantageous to those looking for extra diagnostic tools.

Specs at a glance

Firmware tested 5.4.0.0-01-8256
ADSL2+ modem No
Annex M N/A
3G modem No
IPv6 No
Wireless protocols 802.11b/g/n
Dual-band Yes, but not simultaneous
Highest wireless security WPA2
WDS Yes
Ethernet ports 1x gigabit, PoE capable
USB print sharing/storage No
Accessories Power, Ethernet cables

Connections

HP V-M200 rear

It's rather sparse here. As a pure access point, the V-M200 has a single gigabit Ethernet port and a power jack. (Credit: HP)

UI and features

HP's interface is a simple, tabbed, monochrome affair, that on most sections features a question mark at the right. Click it, and a pop-up explains exactly what that section is all about. Consumer-focused companies could learn a lot from what HP has done here.

Rather than the usual set-up, HP has the user create "wireless communities", with settings like SSIDs, allowing traffic between wireless clients, MAC and other authentication associated per community. You can even segregate that community by pushing all of its traffic down a single VLAN, if you want to. Up to four wireless communities are supported.

Other handy features include rogue access-point detection (where the access point scans for other APs, and, if they're not on an authorised MAC list, reports it to the admin), an incredible logging system, traffic logs for each user and a stable of diagnostic tools.

Performance

After analysing the spectrum with InSSIDer, the clearest 2.4GHz channel is chosen wireless testing. Usually, the router is restricted to the 20MHz band if the option is available.

We use iperf to determine throughput, running eight streams with a TCP window size of 1MB and an interval of one second. The test is run for five minutes in three different locations, on two separate occasions. The locations are in the same room as the router: one floor down around spiral stairs and with concrete walls and floors, and two floors down under the same conditions.

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