EnGenius ECW336 review: A mighty Wi-Fi 6E package

It's expensive, but this tri-band Wi-Fi 6E AP offers top performance and great cloud management services

The EnGenius router
(Image: © Future)

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Great connection speeds

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    Easy set up


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EnGenius offers businesses a fine choice of wireless access points (APs) and the ECW336 is its most powerful yet. This tri-band AP supports the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and Wi-Fi 6E 6GHz bands, as well as the 6GHz high-speed 160MHz channels, and boasts a maximum throughput of 8.4Gbits/sec, giving it an impressive AX8400 rating.

The ECW336 presents 12 spatial streams spread equally across the three radios, claiming top speeds of 1,184Mbits/sec, 2,400Mbits/sec and 4,800Mbits/sec respectively. EnGenius ensures there are no bottlenecks to worry about, as the ECW336 is the first SMB-class AP we've seen to sport a 5GbE multi-gigabit network port.

The network port supports PoE+ and that's how you're expected to power it; although there's a power jack alongside, an adapter isn't included. For testing, we connected the AP to the lab's Zyxel XS1930-12HP 10GbE multi-gigabit PoE++ switch.

The ECW336 is designed to be managed using EnGenius's cloud portal. Its local web browser interface doesn't provide access to any configuration settings and only displays an overview of LAN, internet and cloud connection status. Adding the AP to our cloud account was swift, and we used the Cloud To-Go iOS app on an iPad to scan the QR code on its base.

The AP was automatically added to our organisation, where it took all our predefined wireless settings and started broadcasting them as soon as it was online. The cloud portal opens with a non-customisable dashboard showing all switches, APs and wireless clients, with graphs below for wireless throughput plus the top APs, clients and SSIDs.

Each site can support up to eight SSIDs. For each one, you can choose which of the three radios are active, enable L2 isolation, band steering and fast roaming, as well as apply download and upload rate limits for the entire SSID or per client. WPA3 encryption is mandatory for Wi-Fi 6E clients, but you can present SSIDs that enable all radios and use mixed WPA2/WPA3 security.

Guest wireless users can be presented with a captive portal that supports authentication methods such as clickthrough, EnGenius cloud-managed users, Radius, voucher and Facebook account logins. A splash page is displayed to users and the portal provides an integral HTML editing toolbox so you can easily customise it with your own logo, welcome message and acceptable use policy.

EnGenius offers a chargeable Pro version of the cloud portal that enables a range of enhanced features such as a 30-day log retention period, network topology views and seven-day timeline charts of the APs to which a client is connected, the authentication methods used, and details of association errors such as incorrect passwords. All EnGenius cloud-managed devices include a one-year Pro subscription in the price, with subsequent years costing around £35 per device.

We started our performance tests using a Dell Windows 10 Pro workstation equipped with a TP-Link Archer TX3000E Wi-Fi 6 PCI-E adapter. The AP's 5GHz radio doesn't support the 160MHz channels so our host showed a connection speed of 1,200Mbits/sec using the 80MHz channels.

Copying a large 25GB test file between the workstation and a 10GbE-connected Windows server on the LAN, we recorded close range speeds of 115MB/sec. Moving the AP ten metres away and into an adjoining room with a wall in the way saw speeds drop to 95MB/sec.

There was no such problem with our Dell Windows 11 Pro workstation and its TP-Link Archer TXE75E Wi-Fi 6/6E PCI-E adapter, as it happily connected to the 6GHz band with the 160MHz channels enabled and showed a connection speed of 2,400Mbits/sec. Speeds ramped up nicely, too, with our large file copies averaging 222MB/sec at close range and 183MB/sec at ten metres.

The ECW336 offers a mighty hardware package but comes with a premium price tag – Netgear's tri-band WAX630E only costs £235 and isn't far behind it for performance either. That said, the ECW336 scores well for cloud services, with the portal offering excellent business-class wireless management and security features.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.