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Wireless Tests, Continued

But the test of a repeater is how well it extends a WLAN's range or performance vs. range. As I said earlier, I disagree with Linksys' setup suggestion of placing a repeater at the edge of a WLAN's range. So for my testing I chose my medium-range test Location 2. Wireless clients usually do ok here, but tend to get knocked down to the low (Mbps) 'teens in throughput.

Linksys WRE54G - Medium range STA to AP (uplink) Direct vs. Repeater throughput

Figure 8: Medium range STA to AP (uplink) Direct vs. Repeater throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

Figures 8 and 9 show a very disappointing story. You can see that my client had throughput in the typical low 'teens directly back to the WRT54G, but when I ran the test through the WRE54G, speeds dropped significantly. From the almost 14Mbps direct uplink speed, I'd expect approximately 7 Mbps via a full-speed repeated link connected at the same rate. Similarly, I'd expect about 6Mbps repeated throughput from an almost 12Mbps direct downlink speed.

Instead, I measured slightly less than 3Mbps uplink and 1.6Mbps downlink through the WRE54G repeated link. This tells me that either the link speed between the WRE54G and WRT54G was knocked down further than expected to 802.11b speeds of 11Mbps or lower, there's something wonky with the WRE54G's firmware or some combination of the two. At any rate, clearly Linksys has some work to do to improve the WRE54G's performance.

Linksys WRE54G - Medium range AP to STA (downlink) Direct vs. Repeater throughput

Figure 9: Medium range AP to STA (downlink) Direct vs. Repeater throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

To eliminate the WRT54G as a possible cause, and see if I could improve the WRE54G's performance, I ran a quick set of tests with an ASUS WL300g as the WRE54G's repeating partner. Unfortunately, I didn't see a significant change in results.

And just before finishing this review I upgraded the WRT54G to V2.04.4 (latest) firmware to check something and decided to repeat the downlink tests. The close range downlink repeated results (lower trace in Figure 7) smoothed out to yield a 10.1Mbps average throughput, but I didn't find appreciable improvement in the medium range tests.

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