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This JAHT router has the catchy title of WAM-4054P and brings together an ADSL modem and wireless router in a single case. The wireless side runs the 54Mbps (802.11g) standard, which is also compatible with 802.11b hardware.
The WAM-4054P features four Ethernet ports in addition to the wireless interface, allowing you to run any mixture of wireless or Ethernet networks. The router should work on all BT Wholesale based ADSL services, and as the VPI, VCI and encapsulation values can be configured it will work for other ADSL services (e.g. Karoo in the UK). The unit is based around a Conexant chipset, which has proved to be a popular chipset in routers in the last few years, and appears to work well.
We will focus on the most popular use of the unit, which will be on a single IP address service. The configuration is identical for both dynamic and static IP address solutions. It should be possible to use the router with a block of static IP addresses, but we have not verified this. JAHT also produce their own 802.11g wireless network card which we will compare with a range of the leading brands later in the review.
The WAM-5404P comes with the by now standard contents of:
The case is a fairly standard plastic affair with vents across the top of it. These do stop the router becoming too hot, in normal use it is only slightly warm. The front of the unit houses eight LEDs and a push button on/off switch.
The function of the eight LEDs in left to right order is:
- LAN TP4 - TP1, traffic indicators for each Ethernet socket
- WAN RXD, flashes when data is received from the Internet
- WAN ADSL, constant red if an ADSL signal is detected
- WAN TXD, indicates traffic being transmitted out onto the Internet
- RDY, flashes once you are logged onto your service provider
- Power switch
The rear of the router is a pretty standard affair as can be seen above. The points worthy of note are that the two wireless antenna are hardwired, so there is no option to add an extra gain antenna, but with two antenna you can orient them to try and get maximum coverage. One small gripe with the case design is that the bottom edge of the case can make removing some Ethernet cables a bit difficult, since it is not easy to press down easily on the small tab on each cable to unlock it from the Ethernet port.
Opening the case of the router reveals the Conexant ARM processor that drives the unit, and the small wireless network card, which is another Conexant based unit. Conexant based ADSL kit has been sold in the UK for some time now, and while these units may not win any design awards they generally work very well.
The router should be configurable from any computer with a reasonably standard browser. No software CD's or wizards that rely on a specific operating system are needed.
To configure this router, you access its built in web server via http://10.0.0.2 . To access this web page you will need to first make a connection to the router, this can be via an Ethernet connection as shown below, or using a wireless connection which is enabled by default.
The screenshot above shows that we have selected the Ethernet LAN connection in Windows XP, and the details pane on the left of the picture, shows the router has issued an IP address automatically to the PC via DHCP. If your network card has been assigned an IP address in the range 10.0.0.x, then type http://10.0.0.2/ into your web browser to access the startup page for the router. The router will ask for a username and password when you connect to its web interface, the default username is admin, and the default password is epicrouter.
If your computer does not display this page, but instead starts to dial out for an Internet Connection, then you most likely need to tell Internet Explorer to stop doing this. The setting that needs to be changed, is 'never dial a connection' and is located in Internet Explorer under the Tools | Internet Options... menu item.
The routers web interface appears to have too many options, but the actual configuration is very simple. It is a matter of knowing what settings to change and what to leave alone. To enter the username and password for your ADSL service you need to click the WAN link under the Configuration section.
On the first screen which is shown above simply click submit to proceed onto the main configuration page, a copy of which is shown below:
As can be seen the factory defaults for the router have filled in the vast majority of the fields, including the crucial VPI and VCI fields. There are just three fields you need to change:
Once the entries have been entered, click the submit button to temporarily store the settings in the router. To permanently store the settings so that the router remembers them after a reboot or power failure you should click the Save Settings / Reboot link.
The router while rebooting will display a message saying it is rebooting on the webpage, and will display Done when it has finished rebooting. Normally a reboot will take around 20 seconds.
A useful way to check whether the settings you entered, and your ADSL line are working properly is to click the Diagnostic Test link under the Admin Privilege section. As can be seen above this runs a series of tests, the test page shown was when logged in using the bt_test@startup_domain login. Normally one would expect the Ping of the primary DNS to work, but BT have ping responses turned off on their DNS servers.
Another diagnostic page displaying useful information is the ADSL link under the Status section. This simply shows the attenuation and signal to noise ratio figures for your ADSL line, additionally the speed of the link in both the downstream and upstream directions are shown. Compared to other ADSL devices we have reviewed the attenuation figures seem within the usual plus or minus a couple of dB. If you leave the ADSL Status page open it will auto refresh, allowing you to see if the SNR Margins are varying greatly. If the SNR Margin approaches zero then you may find the number of errors will rise and the modem possibly disconnect and reconnect to the ADSL hardware at the exchange.
The JAHT WAM-4054P router should in theory work with any 802.11b and 802.11g compliant wireless network card. Unfortunately we did experience one or two problem with for example the Thomson 120g USB 2.0 wireless adapter. The routers wireless network is enabled by default, and has no security settings enabled on it. The default wireless network name (SSID) is conexant. Even if you are not using the wireless connection yourself, we recommend turning the wireless component off or enabling wireless security to ensure your computers and Internet connection are not compromised.
This section details how to install the drivers under Windows XP for the JAHT 802.11g wireless network card . The PC Card device is supplied with a CD-ROM holding the drivers and a single sheet of install instructions.
As always when installing hardware do read the instructions, no matter how brief they look. In this case you will plug the PC Card into the PC first, but cancel out of the hardware wizard application that starts up when the PC detects the new hardware. At this point you need to run the set-up program on the supplied CD-ROM.
Once the software drivers for the wireless network card are installed, it will start its own configuration utility. For those that prefer you can override this and use the wireless network configuration tools built into Windows XP
The screenshot above shows the utility scanning for a wireless network. Once it has found a network and connected to you, you should see a screen resembling that below. The reason the wireless card connects automatically is that by default it will connect to ANY wireless network.
The way the wireless security is laid out can be slightly confusing on this JAHT router, since it is split across two web pages. The WEP encryption is handled on the page below, to enable the encryption simply set the appropriate security radio button. One thing to note is that when using the 128-bit WEP encryption, the edit boxes for the four WEP keys are not long enough to display all the characters.
Some people are confused when setting up kit, as to why there are four WEP keys. The idea is that normally you would enter a key for Key 0, as by default this is the one the router will use. The other three keys are so that you can pre-enter a number of keys, and then at random choose a different key, by changing the WEP key every now and then you can make it harder for people to crack the key.
The WPA security configuration is handled under the WLAN Security section. As is common with most routers, you select WPA PSK (Pre Shared Key) and TKIP encryption, as this corresponds to the options Windows XP uses. As well as changing the WPA Mode to enabled, you will need to enter a WPA Pre-Shared Key. This is a string used to generate the keys, as with any security system the longer and more complex the string the more secure it will be. Therefore it is advised to NOT use obvious things like your post code and house number.
In common with most routers that implement NAT, you can forward specific ports to specific computers to allow a service to be visible to other computers on the Internet. This technique has a number of names such as virtual server, port forwarding and pin holing to name a few. Our example screen shot below shows a router that has already had two rules created, and a third rule about to be added.
Rule 1 is forwarding unsolicited requests for TCP Port 80 onto a machine connected to the router, that has the IP address 192.168.0.201. Port 80 is commonly used by webservers. Rule 2 is similar but TCP Port 25 is used to expose an SMTP mail server, i.e. for a mail server that is running on the local network. The rule we are about to add, is actually for TCP port 110, and will expose a POP3 mail server, so that people can collect email when away from the home network.
The JAHT router allows you to specify just 20 rules, which may not be enough for some people. In this case you can set-up one computer to be defined as the DMZ host. This DMZ host option means that the IP address specified will be sent all of the data packets that are not destined for another computer on the local network, thus exposing it to the Internet, which can be a security risk. The DMZ option is hidden away under the Misc Configuration page.
While the routers web interface seems somewhat spartan, the unit itself appears to be very stable, running for weeks at a time with no problems. The unit also appears to run well under heavy traffic loads on a 2Mbps connection, both with single downloads and lots of multiple downloads.
We now measure the wireless speed of units in terms of the time taken to copy a large file over the local network. The file transferred is 229MB (Mega Byte) in size, and we measure the time takem to transfer this file and calculate the throughput at three locations.
Transfer rate with router and wireless network card within 1 metre and clear line of sight
(throughput in Mbps)
The router when in the same room as the laptop used for our wireless testing would appear to run reasonably. Unfortunately we found that the router was somewhat more problematic once a couple of walls were added. The JAHT wireless card did not want to associate to the router at our second location, and the two cards that did work showed very low throughput over the time taken to transfer the 229MB file.
To ensure that the problems were not due to any additional clutter we tested the Netgear DG834GT at the second location, and this achieved similar speeds to what we saw previously with this.
The JAHT WAM-5404P is not a router to get excited about, it is very much a mid-range unit. The router does what it sets out to do, and does this reliably, alas at a time when the feature sets on other routers are growing. The stability of the router is the pay-off for the lack of bells and whistles.
Price wise at its current price of £69.99 the router may not look the best value for money, when compared to for example the Linksys HG200 that is selling at £49.95 currently. Though the £69.99 price does include delivery. We think though that this router will appeal to people who have used a Conexant chipset based router before, and are looking for a no thrills wireless option. The web interface is certainly not the best laid out one in the world, but it does have many options available, some of which may confuse beginners. Certainly the documentation for setting up the unit could be better.
The problems with the wireless side are unfortunate and perhaps suggest that the router is best suited to wireless use within the same room, rather than across a whole property.
£59.56 - JAHT Wireless 54Mbps 4-port ADSL Modem/Router (£69.99 including VAT and delivery)
£19.14 - JAHT Wireless 54Mbps PCMCIA adapter (£22.49 including VAT and delivery)
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The contents of this review should not be relied upon in making a purchasing decision - You should always discuss your requirements with your service provider and hardware supplier.