Looking for a blazing fast wireless network setup? The latest wireless technology … Wi-Fi5 … is the fastest way to go so far. With the Actiontec system it is very easy to get this fast speed on your wireless network. My test equipment consisted of Actiontec’s 54Mbps Wireless Access Point (WAP) and two 54Mbps Wireless PC Card’s for laptops. Wi-Fi5 technology (802.11a) operates at a fast 54Mbps transfer rate or up to 72Mbps in turbo mode. One advantage this newer standard has over 802.11b systems is that it runs on the 5GHz frequency band where it will not get any interference from 2.4 GHz devices such as cordless phones etc. Also improved over the older systems is an increase from 40 bit WEP security. By adding 128 bit RC4 and 152 bit RC4 data encryption there should be no need to worry about data security. Often the security on the WAP is not turned on and your wireless network can be open to anyone within range (not recommended).

Setting up the Access Point was very easy. Plug your network/broadband connection into the unit and plug in the PC card into your laptop. Then load the drivers from the CD that comes with the unit. The access point will work right out of the box but it is recommended you change a few settings or your network will be open to any other 802.11a device with the same defaults.

Next you configure the settings on the access point from you laptop or from the wired network by going to the factory configured address of the unit of This will bring up the password protected configuration web page on the unit.

SSID—System security identification between 1 and 32 characters

System Name—name of access point.

Radio channel—the unit will scan for an open frequency or you can manually set it.

Turbo on–for even faster 72Mbps speed.

Encryption settings—Enables Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

Authentication Type—Open no authentication or a shared key.

The WAP has a factory address of but that is only used for configuration of the unit, as it will integrate into you network and let your laptop pick up an address from your ISP, Gateway or DHCP server. You can set up security using one or a combination of the following methods between your WAP and the stations (Nic’s).


The first level is to set up a SSID (system security id) of the wireless network the factory setting is ACTIONTEC_11A.

You can set up a Shared Key configuration were you enter characters for the keys and the key length or set up a per station unique key instead of a shared one.

You can also set up per station privacy were you enter the unique MAC address of your network card into the list.

The documentation is great as the CD that came with the WAP had pictures for any scenario and the manual was well laid out.

Setting up the stations is even easier. You can do it manually or use their configuration software tool.

MSRP for this unit is $$265.95 and the PC cards sell for approximately $134.95.