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Wireless Reviews

The Test

NOTE!Testing Notes:
- All tests were run with WEP disabled
- All tests were run with the WL-100g CardBus client card's antenna in the raised position
- All tests were run with the AP placed on raised table top in horizontal position unless otherwise noted
- Signal strength readings were not available

802.11g wireless performance test results are presented in the table below:

Test Conditions:

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: ASUS WL-100G CardBus card
Firmware/Driver Versions:

AP f/w: 1.08.31.37
Wireless client driver: WinXP 3.30.15.0
Test
Description
Signal
Strength
(%)
Transfer
Rate
(Mbps)
Response
Time
(msec)
UDP
stream
Throughput
(kbps)
Lost
data
(%)

Client to AP -
Condition 1

N/A

26.4
[No WEP]
25.7
[w/WEP]

1(avg)
1(max)

500

0%

Client to AP -
Condition 2

N/A

11.7

1(avg)
1(max)

500

0%

Client to AP -
Condition 3

N/A

5.4

1(avg)
1(max)

496

1%

Client to AP -
Condition 4

N/A

8.8

1(avg)
1(max)

499

0%

[Details of how we test can be found here.]

I was impressed with the WL330's throughput vs. range performance, but not so much with the 330g's.

ASUS WL330g Four location throughput

Figure 5: WL330g Four location throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Not only is there relatively high throughput variation, but the indicated signal strength shown by the ASUS WL-100g client tended to be on the low side - even with the advantage of the WL-100g's flip-up antenna! I was surprised at these results, especially given that the maximum output power in 11g mode is around 190mW!

Figure 6 shows that you won't incur much of a penalty by enabling WEP, but you'll take almost a 30% throughput hit for using WPA. Seems to smooth out the throughput variation, though!

Normal, WEP 128 and WPA-PSK TKIP throughput - Location 1

Figure 6: Normal, WEP 128 and WPA-PSK TKIP throughput - Location 1
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

The Verdict

The WL-330g, though just as impressive as the WL-330 for packing a full-featured AP into such a tiny package, isn't as impressive from a feature / performance point of view. I'm glad to see WPA supported, but feel that dropping WDS support narrows its appeal to only business travelers who don't want to be tethered to their hotel room's Ethernet broadband connection.

Folks looking for an inconspicuous wireless repeater to enhance their WLAN's range will have to stick with the slower 11b WL-330, or wait for similar diminutive products to appear. Judging from what I saw at this year's Computex show, you may not have to wait for long!

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