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Wireless Performance

I was pleasantly surprised by the Express' wireless performance, which was quite good, even compared to products with dual external antennas! I must note that to put the Express on as even a playing field as I could with other products, I plugged it into an extension cord and propped it upright on a four foot high table. This is the same location where I place other APs and wireless routers under test. As it turned out, however, this precaution probably didn't have a significant effect on the test results.

NOTE!Testing Notes:
- All tests were run with WEP disabled and default settings unless otherwise noted
- All tests were run with the AP placed on a four foot high table in vertical position
- Signal strength readings were not available

Apple AirPort Express: Four location wireless throughput - Uplink

Figure 14: Four location wireless throughput - Uplink
(click image for larger view)

Figures 14 and 15 show wireless throughput at my four test locations for both uplink and downlink runs. The best-case speed of 24Mbps is among the best I've seen for Broadcom-based products I've tested and very impressive considering the Express' internal antenna. The drop in speed for all other locations is typical, but many other products tend to have much greater variation, especially in Location 3. I also liked that uplink and downlink speeds were evenly matched, instead of the lopsided results I usually get.

Apple AirPort Express: Four location wireless throughput - Downlink

Figure 15: Four location wireless throughput - Downlink
(click image for larger view)

Figure 16 shows negligible throughput loss with WEP128 mode kicked in and about 15% loss in WPA-PSK TKIP. The WPA loss is better than the 25 - 30% loss I usually see with Broadcom-based products, and is probably due to some driver optimization.

Apple AirPort Express: Security mode throughput

Figure 16: Security mode throughput
(click image for larger view)

All things considered, this little box packs quite a wireless wallop!

802.11g Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: Linksys WPC54G CardBus card

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
Wireless client driver:
Win XP
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test Description Signal Strength (%) Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 1 0 23.6
[No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
1 (avg)
1 (max)
500 0
Client to AP - Condition 2 0 13.1 1 (avg)
2 (max)
492 1.5
Client to AP - Condition 3 0 13.2 1 (avg)
3 (max)
491 1.7
Client to AP - Condition 4 0 15.3 1 (avg)
2 (max)
497 0
See details of how we test.
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