Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway review: Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Fast performance; easy setup; built-in four-port Ethernet switch; pop-up antenna offers extra wireless range; seamless operation for Mac and Windows networks.

The Bad Minimal printed documentation.

The Bottom Line If you want to share both wired and wireless Internet connections in your home or office, the Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway offers easy installation, fast performance, and good security at a reasonable price.

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For small businesses (and even busy home networks) that want to share an Internet connection among both wired and wireless clients, the Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway offers a good solution. Considering what it does, the $299 Skyline is definitely reasonably priced. Within a single rectangular box, you get a four-port switch, a built-in 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless gateway, as well as support for VPN and NAT protection. For small businesses (and even busy home networks) that want to share an Internet connection among both wired and wireless clients, the Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway offers a good solution. Considering what it does, the $299 Skyline is definitely reasonably priced. Within a single rectangular box, you get a four-port switch, a built-in 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless gateway, as well as support for VPN and NAT protection.

Almost automatic setup
The Skyline offers many of the features you'd want in a broadband gateway. It measures a compact 9.5 by 5.5 by 1.25 inches, which means it won't take up much space on your desktop. It also has a 7-inch swivel antenna for maximum wireless coverage and a built-in four-port Ethernet switch as part of the setup. This eliminates the need to buy a separate switch for your small wired home or business network. The built-in four-port Ethernet switch offers 10/100BaseT capability, and the large status LEDs make it easy to monitor the condition of your connection.

While most users will be able to set up the Skyline in a few moments via the four-page quick-start guide, we would've appreciated a bit more information. Still, installation proceeded smoothly once we attached our cable modem (using a Cox@Home hookup) to the gateway's broadband port and then plugged in the rest of the wired portion of our network to the Ethernet ports. Next, we fired up the gateway, and within seconds, the green status lights were lit, and all the computers on our cross-platform network were able to get online. (Depending on your ISP, you may need to configure the gateway via the Web-based Direct Connection utility before it will recognize your connection. For example, some cable companies require a Client ID number, which is specific to a user and must be entered to gain access.) Setting up the gateway's more advanced features, such as the ability to customize the gateway to receive streaming audio and video and establish a VPN, will require a trip to the 84-page electronic manual on the supplied CD. There you'll also find specific instructions covering a number of different ISPs, including @Home and Media One; a troubleshooting section; a glossary; and a table of contents.

Setting up a wireless network is just as easy. Because wireless-networking capabilities are fully integrated within the Skyline, all you'll need to purchase is a wireless adapter card for each computer you plan to network. The gateway follows the industry-standard 802.11b protocol and communicates with desktops and notebooks over radio waves within a 150-foot range at speeds up to 11Mbps. Ultimately, however, the range will depend on the acoustics and the layout of your home. Also, the gateway automatically reduces transmission speeds to 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, and, finally, 1Mbps, depending on the quality of the signal, so the farther you are from the device, the slower the connection speed will be.

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Where to Buy

Proxim Skyline 802.11b wireless broadband gateway

Part Number: PN85841

MSRP: $279.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Data Transfer Rate 11 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired
    wireless