Compex’s NetPassage 26G is the follow-up to the NetPassage 16 model we reviewed some time ago. While we found the NetPassage 16 to be a competent product, and certainly not a bad purchase, we suggested at the time that it lacked unique or compelling features that would greatly distance it from other products available. With the NetPassage 26G, Compex looks to change that.
Fig 1. Compex's NetPassage 26G, 802.11g wireless router.
The NetPassage 26G’s most unique feature is its ability to function as a wireless web camera server. The Router offers a USB port to which a webcam can be connected. From any terminal, simply log in to the Router using a web browser, and you’ll have full access to streaming video from the camera connected to the router. Not only that, but Compex’s software allows position control of webcams that support it as well. There are directional buttons (Up, Down, etc.) at the bottom of the browser window that allow the webcam’s viewing angle to be altered remotely.
Compex has further expanded the NetPassage 26G’s abilities by offering a built-in print server as well. We’ve found print servers to be tremendously useful, as it allows the printer to be positioned in a neutral location, and doesn’t require one to power up a dedicated desktop or workstation in order to use the printer. Note that the NetPassage 26G only offers USB ports (two of them), so owners of older, non-USB printers won’t find much help here.
The remainder of the NetPassage 26G’s features are fairly standard as far as Routers go. There are four 100Mbit LAN connections. The local area network is fully configurable, either with the Router serving as a DHCP server, or via static IP assignments. The wide area connection is similarly configurable to use DHCP or a static IP. In terms of wireless security, the NetPassage 26G again offers all of the standard features one would expect. 128-bit WEP is available, and Compex has included Pseudo-VLAN capability as well. Naturally a firewall is available for wide area security.