Update 10/24/2008: Added Stress Test
|At a Glance|
|Product||NETGEAR Wireless-N Router (WNR2000)
NETGEAR Netgear RangeMax Wireless-N USB 2.0 Adapter (WN111V2)
|Summary||Low-cost single-band draft 802.11n router based on Atheros XSPAN|
|Pros||• Street price around $70
• Uplink QoS
• 100 Mbps wire speed routing
• Decent wireless range
|Cons||• Not as cheap as other entry-level draft 11n products
• Unbalanced up and downlink throughput
• Unusually low WEP and WPA/TKIP downlink speed
NETGEAR missed the Cheap Draft 802.11n Router Roundup because it didn't have a two-antenna product in the $50-$70 price range. Sure, it had the aging WNR834B, which was close in price and had three vs. two antennas. But I had already reviewed it, so didn't include it in the round-up.
Well, NETGEAR now has a new entry-level single-band draft 802.11n router—the WNR2000. So let's take a look and see if it's a better alternative for a cheap draft 11n router.
The FCC ID doc photos are very fuzzy and don't really show the component details. And since the product has heatsinks on the switch and CPU/Mac/Baseband chips (a good thing!) I had to make some guesses about the 2000's components.
Figure 1: WNR2000 board
Unlike the original WNR834B, the 2000 is based on Atheros' AR9100AP chipset. It features a combined CPU/MAC/BaseBand SoC, radio chip and separate switch. I can't tell whether the radio chip in Figure 2 is the AR9102 2.4 GHz 2x2 radio or AR9103 2.4 GHz 3x3 radio. This is further complicated by presence of the three "metamaterial" antennas.
Figure 2: WNR2000 radio detail
But NETGEAR was kind enough to tell me that the radio is the 3x3 AR9103 and the CPU/MAC/Baseband the AR9132. The 10/100 switch is an Atheros AR8216 6 port 10/100 and I could clearly tell from looking at the board that there is 32 MB of RAM and 4 MB of flash.
NETGEAR sent along a WN111V2 RangeMax Wireless-N USB 2.0 Adapter as the companion adapter. The original WN111 used a Marvell "TopDog" draft 11n chipset (Figure 3), comprised of an 88W8060 2.4 GHz transceiver and 88W8362 MAC/BB.
Figure 3: WN111 V1 radio detail
But the V2 uses an Atheros 9001 USB chipset, made up of an AR9170 MAC/BB and AR9101 1x2 MIMO Single-band 2.4 GHz Radio.
Figure 4: WN111 V2 radio detail
I think this is a better choice, since I have found that it's still best to stay with the same chipset manufacturer for AP and client for best performance.