Performance - more
For the second test, I moved the ESR9850 to Location 1. This spot isn't that far away from Location 2, but it removes a wall from between the WNDR3700 and ESR9850 and puts it instead between the ESR9850 and test client.
Figure 8 shows that just that one change has a significant effect on signal strength, with the signal from the WNDR3700 now 6 dB (4X) stronger than the one from the ESR9850.
Figure 8: Main AP and repeater signal strength - repeater in Location 1
Figure 9 shows that even though the client is working with a weaker signal from the repeater, its performance is significantly improved, with both write and read speeds of almost 22 Mbps.
Figure 9: Wireless throughput - client through ESR9850 in Location 1
This improvement is due to the stronger signal between the WNDR3700 and ESR9850, which leads to higher bandwidth between them. And with higher bandwidth coming in, the ESR9850 can provide higher bandwidth out.
Wireless bridging and repeating remains a confusing aspect of wireless networking. Although devices are easier to configure and interoperability has improved among WDS devices, the topic is still full of unclear terminology, with the same terms used to describe things that are very different under the hood. And, if that isn't enough, remember that there is no Wi-Fi interoperability certification for bridging / repeating devices.
In spite of these drawbacks, WDS, bridging and repeating are useful tools to have in your networking bag of tricks. I hope this short series has helped you to better understand and use them.