Actiontec Wireless Ready Home Gateway

Actiontec Wireless Ready Home Gateway - Page 1

The Actiontec Wireless Ready Home Gateway
SOHO Connectivity - Copper Need Not Apply

By, Dave Altavilla
November 5, 2001

SOHO (Small Office Home Office) products have certainly gotten sexier with the advent of Broadband ISP services brought to the home and small businesses.  No longer are we limited to the primitive functionality of a simple ethernet hub.  Now we have technologies like Routers, Gateways and Access Points, which were historically thought of as higher end "enterprise" solutions, making their way to suburbia and the average home user or small office.  This new area of opportunity for various OEMs, as we mentioned in our review of a similar DLink Product, does however also come along with its fair share of challenges, namely complexity for the end user and the obvious high volume of Tech Support requests that could come in, with respect to something as complicated as a router.

This is where companies line Actionec can really differentiate themselves with respect to the competition or competitive solutions.  The trick here is to keep the setup and configuration simple but still give the end user the horsepower and features they'll need to integrate the many types of media, that are now potentially running in the home or small office.  Let's see, one could have either Cable, DSL, Satelite or ISDN service.  Now ad on potentially wireless connectivity for some users or standard 10/100 Ethernet.  As you can see there are many protocols to support here as well as various connection types.  Now, roll that all into one unit and make it easy for the novice end user to configure, so your tech support personnel can actually take a 10 minute caffeine break now and then.  Sounds like a tall order doesn't it? 

We'll now take you on a tour of Actiontec's offering here that promises to be able to deliver on this tall order, the Wireless Ready Home Gateway.

The Three Amigos

Specifications & Features Of The Wireless Ready Home Gateway
Make it simple and powerful
Operating System:
Windows 95/98/98SE/2000/ME/NT4/XP
MAC O/S 7.1 or Higher
Package Contents:
Wireless-Ready Multimedia Home Gateway Quick Start and Installation Manual
Ethernet network cable
Vertical mounting stand
Power Supply
Standards Compliant with:
IEEE 802.3 10BASE-T Ethernet
IEEE 802.3u 100BASE-Tx Fast Ethernet
IEEE 802.3x Flow Control
ANSI/IEEE 802.3 Nway auto-negotiation
IEEE 802.11b Wireless access point (with wireless PC Card)**
Protocols Supported:
Rip-1, Rip-2
PPPoE (Client)
DHCP (Client and Server)
SNMP v1, v2, v3
VPN Support*:
Network Management:
Maximum Computers Supported:
Up to 253
Interface Ports / Ethernet Network:
Four Autosensing 10/100Mb Switched Ethernet Ports
Internet Uplink:
One 10BASE-T Ethernet Port

PC Card:
Two PCMCIA Type II Slots
1. (Top) Slot for Wireless 802.11b PC Card ONLY**
2. (Bottom) Slot for Standard PC Card



Actiontec's Wireless Home Gateway - Click it



The Gateway kit comes with just the main unit itself, a stand and a power supply.  There are a couple of manuals but other than that, there isn't even an installation CD with drivers. The unit actually has html driven firmware resident inside and configures without actually installing into the OS.  More on this later in our segment on setup.

The gateway has an onboard 4 port standard 10/100 Ethernet Hub as well as a 10 Base T Ethernet Port for uplink to a Cable Modem or DSL Modem.  It also comes with two standard PCMCIA Type II Slots for installation of a wireless PC Card or any other PC Card for that matter.  The setup we tested used an Actiontec Wireless 802.11b - 11Mbps.Ethernet PC Card.  These cards are sold separately.

The addition of the wireless PC Card gives you the ability to converge wireless media as well, into the network for the flexibility of either a wired 10/100 or wireless 11Mbps setup.  The thought of being able to have instant network connectivity on any test-bed in the lab as well as internet connectivity, with just the addition of a Wireless USB NIC, is shear bliss for our weary Tech Writers.


In total, to complete a fully functional wireless network setup with Internet Connection Sharing, you'll need four components, the Gateway, a wireless NIC, a wireless PC Card and either a 10/100 standard PCI NIC or another wireless NIC for the host machine.  You could also of course use another wireless PC Card to connect a lap top to the network as well. 

Let's setup this low profile little gem up and show you its inner workings.


Installation and Setup


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