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Wireless Reviews

Some readers noticed that Cisco's Linksys E4200 was notably absent from the three-router three-stream N round-up posted last week. That was because I had given my review unit away in a contest. But Cisco quickly sent another for three-stream testing. So let's get to it!

Two more 3 stream routers

Cisco Linksys E4200

To recap, the E4200 is a three stream N on 5 GHz only router with a Broadcom-based design very similar to NETGEAR's WNDR4000, using a Broadcom BCM4331 Single-Chip 802.11n Dual-Band 3x3 for the 5 GHz radio. (Check the E4200 review for full construction details.)

I first upgraded it to 1.0.02 firmware, set it up on Channel 36 and proceeded to test away with the new three-stream test procedure.

The summary table in Figure 1 includes test results for all four 5 GHz band three-stream routers tested this time and in the previous article. The WNDR4000, E4200 and DIR-665 take turns winning the various rounds, all performing significantly better than the Belkin N750 DB. The Marvell-based D-Link DIR-665 produced the highest throughput of 93 Mbps running downlink in Location A.

Three stream performance - 5 GHz band

Figure 1: Three stream performance - 5 GHz band

Note, however, how fast that throughput drops off when moving from strongest signal Location A to medium signal level Location C and even faster moving to medium low location D. Keep in mind that there are no walls between Location C and D and only about 20 feet distance between them.

It appears that three-stream N is even more susceptible to throughput loss due to physical obstacles than two-stream! This is a bit easier to see using the Performance vs. Location plot in Figure 2.

Performance vs. Location -3 stream downlink, 20 MHz mode

Figure 2: Performance vs. Location -3 stream downlink, 20 MHz mode

The IxChariot plot in Figure 3 shows that the E4200's throughput is pretty steady. But I should note that in many cases for this and the D-Link, I had to make multiple runs so that throughput shifts wouldn't undully influence results.

Cisco Linksys E4200 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Figure 3: Cisco Linksys E4200 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, three stream client

I measured 124 Mbps of total throughput running simultaneous up and downlink tests in location A in Auto 20/40 mode.

Here are links to the other 5 GHz plots for your inspection:

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