Netgear ProSafe WMS5316 review

Price when reviewed

The problem with many wireless security solutions is they demand total subservience from managed APs by turning them into brainless lightweights. Not so with Netgear’s WMS5316 wireless controller.

It can centrally manage up to 16 APs and doesn’t require any custom firmware updates to dumb them down. Naturally, it only supports Netgear’s APs but there are seven on the list so you have a good choice of speeds and coverage. For testing we used Netgear’s latest WNDAP350 dual-band 802.11n AP.

The appliance’s web interface is simple to use and provides a search facility that spotted our test AP immediately. All we had to do was add the AP to the managed list and provide its local administrative password. After a few seconds the AP had synchronised with the appliance and picked up a set of default wireless settings. A basic security policy is used if all your APs are on the same subnet and this allows you to create and activate up to eight SSIDs for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Custom groups are used when APs are required to have different settings and may not all be in the same network. Eight groups are supported, each with eight profiles, and after defining wireless settings you edit the entry for each AP and place them in the relevant group.

Netgear ProSafe WMS5316

The appliance supports multiple VLANs and can present a different DHCP server on each one. Its RF management picks the best channels based on performance and sets these on the APs automatically. A scheduler is provided so you can force channel changes to be made to APs only outside normal hours when they’re not being used.

The appliance uses the APs for rogue detection but in reality it classes anything that isn’t a supported Netgear AP as a rogue. You can move selected entries into a known AP list but no rogue containment features are available.

The appliance makes configuration easy with a similar interface to that used by the APs themselves. We could also log into the test AP’s web interface and check that our changes had been made, and whenever the appliance wanted access it simply kicked us off. We found configuration changes were applied in a few seconds and if the appliance was removed from the network the AP continued to work with its latest set of parameters.

You can keep track of AP locations by importing a graphic of your office into the web interface. Icons are provided for all managed APs that are manually moved to the required location, but no indicators of range or wireless coverage are provided. General reporting features were also limited, with minimal information about wireless clients.

SMBs looking for a simple, low-cost wireless network management product will find Netgear’s ProSafe WMS5316 appliance an ideal solution. It’s easy to use and supports a good range of Netgear AP’s which can be put back into standalone mode at any time and released happily into the wild with all their own attributes intact.



Warranty RTB years2


Server formatRack
Server configuration1U


Gigabit LAN ports4

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos