All I can say is wow - the router is incredibly nice looking with its glass top panel and aluminium surroundings but this does make it a fingerprint and dust magnet.
On the top of the router you’ve got an array of LED indicators (Power, Ethernet status, and WAN status). The LED’s are quite bright especially at night but thankfully Grandstream thought of that giving you the ability to turn off the LED’s on both the access point and the router on a schedule.
On the back the router features quite an array of ports including 5 Gigabit Ethernet (where 1 can be switched separately for creating a completely different network - handy in a hotel for example), 2x WAN, 2x USB 3.0 and Power. The router itself can be powered via PoE if required on the first Ethernet port also.
The access point, however, is a different story - it has quite an industrial look and isn’t as nice looking as the Ubiquiti UniFi range for example. It also has quite a bit of weight to it compared to other ceiling mounted access points I’ve tried but that is for good reason (we’ll get to that later). These access points come without a PoE injector so if you’re thinking about buying one remember to include an injector in your cart also.
In general though - incredibly impressive build quality of both units given the price.
I struggled for some time to get the firmware to upgrade on this router and access point as the out of box firmware on the access point refused to talk to the router - this happened to be caused by the firmware on my particular unit having an internal Granstream update server set. A quick email to GoWiFi gave me the correct upgrade URL (by setting the Update URL to firmware.grandstream.com) and I was on my way.
The firmware upgrade process once I had updated the URL is incredibly simple - simply press the “Upgrade” button in the WebUI. The router will check every now and then for updated firmware and automatically apply it at a time preference you specify. The router also stores the previous version of the firmware so you can rollback if needed.
This router has almost everything in terms of what you’d want and its firmware is incredibly well built. It has some pretty advanced firewall features (including D-NAT / S-NAT rules) and a full breakdown of your network at a glance - I would say it is very similar to other competing products such as Ubiquiti’s UniFi however unlike this you don’t need to run any additional software.
The router also features full VLAN support (both on the WAN interface for the likes of UFB or Vodafone’s “new gen” Cable service and on the Ethernet ports) meaning you’re able to create multiple networks with ease. The router itself has an extra Ethernet port for a separate network making this great if you’re wanting to fire up an internet service for use in (for example) a Café or Hotel - on top of this it has an internal captive portal server along with full management for this built right into the router.
It also includes the ability to schedule almost anything from the LED’s of the access points right up to firewall rules and when networks will be available.
The router and access point itself is Linux based but doesn’t appear to be built on any standard opensource firmware build. It does run a standard stack of opensource apps like dnsmasq for DNS / DHCP. Because of this, it does have wide support for USB devices including hard drives, printers and wireless modems meaning you can make use of its 2x USB 3.0 ports.
Overall - the router has an incredibly strong feature set including full VPN support and many other features that can quite easily replace either a Mikrotik or Ubiquiti Edgerouter in a home / small office environment.
Built-in controller feature
This is one of the features I was quite excited to see - having something that doesn’t require a dedicated controller. The Router can act as a full blown controller for your network (supporting 300+ access points) meaning you don’t need to manage each device individually. The router will handle both provisioning and upgrading the access points connected to it.
This really impressed me - I installed a unit in a two-story house that required three Huawei HG659 to cover - a single wireless access point covered both floors with strong 5GHz Wireless AC. Speeds are incredibly good also netting around 800Mbit in a moderately congested environment on a MacBook Pro through a few walls. Really, your performance will vary but for the price, this had me quite impressed.
The access points - like most others will adjust power output and the channels they’re broadcasting on automatically. There really isn’t much more about this - it just works.
With its strong feature set and great price, I have no issues with recommending this router to anyone who just wants a network that “just works” - it handles Gigabit internet no problems and better yet you can manage your complete network in a single place hosted on your own network. The router supports the more advanced things whilst staying simple to use and the wireless access point pumps out some incredibly good wireless goodness for all your devices to consume - it really kicks the living crap out of consumer-grade products even in this price range.
Thanks Go Wireless for once again letting me play around with some interesting kit. If you’re wanting to purchase it yourself head over to their website and show them some love. Just remember, purchase a PoE adapter if you're purchasing an access point!