Portal Smart Gigabit Home Wi-Fi System 2020 Latest Updated Review.
This is the rare piece of networking gear that combines easy setup with good performance at an inexpensive price.
Portal Smart Home Wi fi
it distinguishes itself from other routers because of its DFS capability and FastLanes technology. These two features combine to allow the Portal router to use 5GHz channels that are typically reserved for radar use by the military and weather services.
The thing with 5GHz channels is that a good portion of it is reserved for radar use. Typical consumer-grade routers can’t touch this spectrum.
It is not that they aren’t allowed to, but it is because there are strict requirements in place for routers who do choose to use this restricted spectrum.
The Portal router comes in a glossy white enclosure with curved edges. A simple Portal logo adorns the top panel and there are no external antennas.
It is a simple and clean design that should look good in most homes. It is fairly wide though, so you will need a good amount of space to position it. For users who are handy with tools, the Portal has wall-mount slots, so wall-mounting is possible.
Design and Features
Ignition Design Labs sent us a two-piece Portal Smart Gigabit Home that provides up to 6,000 square feet of wireless coverage. If you live in a smaller dwelling you can buy a single Portal, which covers up to 3,000 square feet
The router is housed inside a glossy white enclosure with the Portal logo stamped into the top.
The O in Portal is actually an LED indicator that glows red when the router has lost its internet connection, blue when it is connected to the internet, green when it is connected and the Fastlanes and Smartlanes features are operational, and blinks blue or green when the firmware is being updated.
The low-profile design is similar to that of the Eero and Amped Wireless Ally routers, but at 2.1 by 9.5 by 7.2 inches
it is significantly larger. Around back are four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a WAN port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a reset button.
Ignition Design Labs’ WiFi is the rare piece of networking gear that combines easy setup with good performance at an inexpensive price.
- Wi-Fi Spec: 802.11ac/Dual Band
- Number of Antennas/Removable: 9/No
- Ports: 4 Gbps LAN, two USB 2.0
- Processor/Memory/Storage: 750MHz/256MB/48MB
- Wi-Fi Chip: Qualcomm 9563
- Peak 802.11ac performance: 513.4Mbps (at 5 feet)
- Range: 85-feet
- Size: 2.1- by 9.4- by 7.2-inches
Portal’s smartphone app is uncomplicated
it allows you to set up special limited guest networks and there is a “compatibility mode” to help more easily connect devices that can’t access a 5GHz network
The mobile app lets you perform certain tasks from your mobile device, but its functionality is limited.
It opens to a Home screen which displays an interactive network map with icons for Internet, each connected Portal router, connected guests, and connected devices.
Tapping the Portal icons takes you to a screen where you can access basic settings to rename the SSID, enable the web interface, separate the radio bands, and enable beamforming.
If you own a device that cannot connect to a Fastlanes channel use one of the three compatibility modes to find a channel combination that will work with your devices.
- Solid throughput in testing.
- Supports MU-MIMO data streaming.
- Fastlanes 5GHz technology.
- Sleek design.
- Mobile app lacks many features of web app.
- Limited parental controls.
- No QoS settings.
- Buggy installation in testing.
Portal is one of the easiest routers to set up and should appeal to those who don’t want to know about beacon intervals and preamble modes.
Plug the Portal in and connect it to your broadband modem.
While it’s connecting, take a moment to download the Portal app on your phone or tablet; the instruction booklet has a QR code that takes you to the iTunes App Store
In addition to the phone and tablet apps, the Portal lets you log in to the router directly and change its internal settings. Typing 192,168.8.1 into a browser, in the router’s password connection
You can change the network’s name and password, add a mesh extension, set up a virtual private network, turn on its quality-of-service prioritization of clients and set up port forwarding.
A bonus is that it automatically optimizes the system’s channel width. it lacks the ability to optimize the router’s transmission level, however.
Also on the downside, the router lacks a manual that would have been helpful in figuring things out. Portal’s website does have videos, tips and instructions on doing a variety of tasks.