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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Two Stream

Figure 11 shows the wireless Performance Table for 5 GHz, using the Intel 5300 two-stream client. The 4500's downstream performance isn't anything to write home about, with the D-Link DIR-665 turning in the best overall performance of the group.

Wireless performance table - 5 GHz, 2 stream
Figure 11: Wireless performance table - 5 GHz, 2 stream

Figure 12 shows the IxChariot plots for 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode downlink. That wonky oscillating throughput we saw earlier in the 2.4 GHz tests is back. Note also the ramp-up affect at the beginning of some test runs.

NETGEAR WNDR4500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream
Figure 12: NETGEAR WNDR4500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream

Here are links to the other 5 GHz, 2 stream plots for your reference.

Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Three Stream

We finally reach the last look at the 4500's performance—5 GHz, three stream using the Intel 6300 client. Figure 13 shows the wireless Performance Table.

Wireless performance table - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, 3 stream
Figure 13: Wireless performance table - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, 3 stream

The 4500 clearly does better running uplink vs. down, but again is not a far-and-away winner.

Figure 14 shows the IxChariot plots for 40 MHz mode downlink with no sign of the throughput oscillation seen in the two-stream plots.

NETGEAR WNDR4500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream
Figure 14: NETGEAR WNDR4500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream

Here are links to the other 5 GHz, 3 stream plots for your reference.

Closing Thoughts

I guess I'll have to suspend judgement on the WNDR4500 for its performance with two-stream clients until the issue I discovered is resolved. In the meantime, I can judge it on its three-stream performance, where it performs better in 5 GHz than in 2.4.

Competitively, there are only two other routers I've tested that support three-stream N in both bands and in both 20 and 40 MHz mode: D-Link's DIR-665 (Marvell-based) and TRENDnet's TEW-692GR (Ralink based). In this small field, the WNDR4500 actually does pretty well.

But as I've seen with virtually every other router, the WNDR4500 isn't a clear winner in all four benchmark suites. Despite the tuning and tweaking that NETGEAR has done, I didn't get the sense that the 4500's throughput vs. range performance is overwhelmingly better than the competition. But it's not overwhelmingly worse, either.

NETGEAR has also thrown its own monkey wrench into your selection process by giving it a subset of the features of its less-expensive WNDR3800 sibling. If you're paying top-dollar for a wireless router, why shouldn't it have the best performance and feature set?

If you don't need three-stream N, you can give the WNDR4500 a pass. If you're set on a high-end NETGEAR router, the WNDR3800 would be your choice for features and the WNDR4000 for performance.

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