Device exceeds expectations with a simple install process.
With the state of everything going on in the world today, I try to stay at home as much as possible. One caveat of that is trying to still stay connected to the outside world. Like much of the country and world, we find ourselves working from home, schooling our children from home, shopping from home as much as possible, and getting our entertainment online in one form or another. With everyone using online all the time, having a reliable easy-to-use network makes life that much better. Working without a lifeline is silly. I know this because during all of this my router(s) went out leaving me scrambling. Usually, I would just go out and buy a cheap router that wouldn’t be very great but had a good price point. With the uncertainty of everything thing now I decided to go a different route. With a bit of digging, commercial routers seemed to be the way to go for reliability. The downside was that I am not an IT specialist, so ease of use is of the utmost importance. With a little bit of luck, I ran across GL.Net’s Cirrus Ceiling Wireless Networks Access Point. I’ll just call it Cirrus for short.
Cirrus is an elite business-class level wireless gateway. With it, users can expect to receive 400Mbps (2.4G) + 867Mbps (5G) combined WiFi Speeds. The device supports MU-MIMO and features 2 x Gigabit port. Cirrus has built-in Watchdog and a PoE power supply. It’s also OpenWrt Ready. There are several optional features that commercial operators can take advantage of such as an RTC Module, 4G LTE Module, Bluetooth Module, and Zigbee Module.
|Interface: 1 x WAN Ethernet Port, 1 x LAN Ethernet Port, 1 x Reset Button|
|CPU: IPQ4018 Quad-core ARM, @717MHz SoC|
|Memory/Storage: DDR3L 256MB / FLASH 4MB + 128MB NAND FLASH|
|WiFi Antennas: 2 x Internal|
|WiFi Speed: 2.4GHz(400Mbps), 5GHz(867Mbps)|
|Ethernet Port: 10/100/1000M|
|LEDs: 2 x Single-color LED, for Indicate Power and System|
|Power Supply: 12V/2A DC / 802.3at POE-IN|
|Power Consumption: <10W|
|Operating Temperature: -10 ~ 40°C (14 ~ 104°F)|
|Dimension/Weight: 200 x 200 x 40mm / 692g|
Don’t let the long name or “Ceiling” fool you, Cirrus is quite simple. I’m used to my router just sitting next to my modem, but with Cirrus’s mounting bracket I was easily able to mount Cirrus on my wall tucked away hidden behind a television. Now if I was running a small business I probably would have mounted on the ceiling but the wall just seemed to have easier access should the need arise to reset the router. Luckily, a mounting bracket, hardware, and template are included. I just had to figure out the exact spot, tape the template to the wall, and drill 4 holes for the drywall anchors. Once done you insert the Drywall anchors put the screws through the bracket and tighten down until secure. The router slides into place nice and easy. One thing I didn’t take into consideration was the included Ethernet cable was a bit short for my application, but I always have an assortment of cables laying around.
Set up was probably the easiest that I have ever run across. Once Cirrus is mounted, you plug in the power supply and connect the cable to your modem. It is worth mentioning that there are only two ports, one for LAN and one for WAN. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me since I have pretty much converted over to a complete wireless style. It is easy enough to just use your own multi-port switch if needed. There is the option for PoE (Power over Ethernet), but that didn’t suit my needs. Having the option is nice though. Once everything is hooked up and powered on, you have two options for setup. Connect to the WiFi or Connect via LAN. I opted for WiFi set up because my MacBook Pro doesn’t have an Ethernet port without a hub. Once connected to the wireless network named in the included “Let’s Get Started” booklet. After this step, you go to the named address on your browser and go from there.
The user interface for Cirrus is again, one of the easiest I have ever used. Once I changed the default password, which I was prompted to do upon loading, it was easy to do basic maintenance. Navigating Cirrus’ interface was a breeze. I’m no computer wizard, but I can get by with the basics, and this is very basic. If I was running a small business and didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for an IT Specialist this would be a huge selling point by its self. The only tricky part for me was navigating through the menu to change my network names (2 and 5GHz). After around 39 seconds I had it changed and applied. Easy as pie.
One of the nice features for a small businesses is the ability to insert a SIM Card into Cirrus and use cellular 4G/LTE internet access from this when local internet might be down due to a storm or whatever else life throws our way. For my home use, ill most likely never use it, but it’s a nice little feature that gives me peace of mind should the need ever arise.
Some of the other features that come in handy are accessible through the simple to use interface. An easy to use firewall, the ability to see all clients on your networks, the option to turn access off with one simple toggle, and Remote Access are all part of the interface. Also included is an easy to use VPN with a KillSwitch. All of the menus and features are available to use on your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. I tend to use my phone more often than other devices. Cirrus’ user interface works smoother on my iPhone that most of the routers I have used in the last without losing any features from device to device.
GL.Net definitely exceeded my expectations for a simple to use router at home or in small business with Cirrus. It’s loaded with features and is moderately priced at just under $200 (at the time of writing this review). Even though it has ‘enterprise’ in the name, don’t let that spook you away if you planning on using this at home. It’s a great upgrade for people who need a boost for their network.
GL.Net also just launched a Pocket-sized Wireless Gateway called the Brume-M on Kickstarter. Based on my experience with the Cirrus, I’m excited to see what comes from the Brume-W.