Handlink WG-500P review

Price when reviewed

Handlink’s WG-500P combines everything you need to set up a wireless hotspot inside a compact thermal printer.

Handlink WG-500P review

Installation is swift: simply connect the printer’s Ethernet port to a device providing internet access and turn it on. The WG-500P starts with one open SSID, and its web interface provides a quick setup routine.

The WG-500P supports 2.4GHz 802.11n network connections, and up to eight SSIDs can be created. The on-demand authentication and billing features are mapped to the first SSID, with the rest reserved for private use.

You can decide how long user accounts are valid for; opt to offer users one-time internet access; or allow time to be accumulated only when a client is connected. Up to ten billing profiles can be created, where each specifies a different time limit and whether a user has paid in cash or by credit card. Profiles can be assigned to the printer’s three buttons.

To create a unique user account, simply push the appropriate button and the printer will output a ticket (with a QR code printed on it) that can then be handed to the customer.

The login portal can be customised with company logos, banners and adverts. Users can be redirected to an acceptable-use policy page or another website, and a walled garden lets you define five URLs that can be accessed without authentication. The WG-500P uses Layer 2 isolation to prevent wireless clients from seeing each other. Filtering can be applied, but only by manually creating a list of IP addresses, subnets or URLs.

Bandwidth management applies upstream and downstream speed limits equally to each wireless client MAC address.

Performance isn’t great, however, with a close-range connection yielding only 9MB/sec. A long-range connection saw this drop to 4.6MB/sec, although you can increase range by linking the printer to another AP via an optional USB-to-Ethernet dongle.

The WG-500P isn’t a speedy performer, but setting up a managed wireless hotspot doesn’t get any easier.

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