The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Wireless Taco!

Posted by Deliverator on April 7th, 2007

I recently purchased a wireless taco from Matt W, or rather from his company, Metrix Communications. The device is technically called the Ruckus Metroflex 2211-DZ, but once you see it, it is instantly transmogrified into simply “wireless taco.”

Ok, now that you have seen the taco, we can talk about what it does. At its simplest, the taco enables devices equipped with only Ethernet to communicate with 802.11b/g networks. This is generally known as a “client bridge” and there have been many client bridge products over the year, of which I own several. Few do the job as well or as elegantly as the taco. Most bridges have been rather convoluted to configure, often requiring one to run a windows only setup program to change settings, or to assign oneself a static ip address and then access a configuration web page. On the taco, one simply presses a button on the back and then you open a web browser on a computer hooked up to the taco’s Ethernet port. Regardless of what you have set as your homepage, the taco takes you to its configuration page to configure the bridge. Nothing could be simpler, quicker and more cross operating system compatible than the way the taco does it!

From the configuration webpage, you can scan for networks in range, set security options, change the default password and other typical bridge stuff. The taco does a number of things that other bridges do not. It can act as both a client on a wireless network and an access point (with or without dhcp and nat) at the same time. This lets one connect to a wireless network outside one’s building and extend it inside as well, all without relying on finicky wireless repeating systems like WDS.

Another neat feature of the taco is its advanced antenna array. You pretty much plop the taco down, plug it in and it figures out which set of antenna elements to use for best reception at any given moment. I haven’t taken mine apart yet (although I probably will in the next week), but there is a neat picture of the array (linked from Ruckus’ page) here:

Ruckus Dual Zone Antenna Array

All in all, the taco is everything a bridge should be and more. It is easy to configure, has great range, throughput is excellent and it has proved itself stable through large data transfers over the course of the last several days. The “Dual Zone” feature is unique on any product in its price range. You can get one yourself for $125 from Metrix.