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Recap

This is probably a good point to stop and sum up my conclusions so far:

  • You'd be unlikely to notice interference between two 11g WLANs running video streams at any distance
  • Two 11g WLANs running at full speed (long downloads for example) can interfere at close range
  • It's unlikely you'd be significantly bothered by a neighbor's heavily used 802.11g WLAN while watching a wirelessly streamed video on your own.
  • A nearby Super-G WLAN running a 2Mbps video stream will probably not cause significant interference to an 11g WLAN that's also streaming a video
  • A Super-G wireless LAN running at full speed will interfere with an 11g WLAN also running at full speed. Severe throughput loss in the 11g WLAN can occur up to 30 feet away and significant throughput loss may still be seen around 50 feet
  • Updated December 6, 2003 A Super-G WLAN running at full speed will seriously interfere with an 11g WLAN running 2Mbps streaming video even at 30 feet. The interference is essentially gone at 50 feet.

These results would seem to more strongly support Broadcom's assertions than Atheros' counter-arguments, since under most of the same test conditions, two 11g WLANs don't interfere with each other, but Super-G and 11g WLANs do.

And while it's true that two 11g WLANs can interfere with each other as Atheros contends, it's only when both are running full-tilt, and even then, the interference is gone by the time the WLANs are separated by 30 feet - well short of the 100 feet that Atheros has been quoted as saying will be the 11g interference zone.

But before you go off wondering why Atheros would create "an 802.11g jammer" - to quote one Broadcom marketing exec, instead of a new standard in wireless LAN performance, continue on to Part 2 of this Need To Know.

In it, I'll show that looking at just Broadcom-based 11g vs. Atheros gear doesn't tell the entire Super-G story and I'll also explore the relationship between Super-G and improved range. And, of course, I'll have my own two cents to contribute to this whole mess.

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