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Routing Tests

Since both routers have only one Ethernet port, I had to test routing throughput using a wireless client. I first ran uplink and downlink tests using IxChariot with router and client within six feet of each other and the routers set to AP mode. This let me measure pure wireless performance with the router removed from the picture. I then switched the routers to router mode and reran uplink and downlink tests, this time measuring the combination of wireless + router throughput.

NETGEAR WLAN-WAN Routing vs. AP uplink throughpu

Figure 8: NETGEAR WLAN-WAN Routing vs. AP uplink throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

Figure 8 shows a combination plot of the tests made on the NETGEAR router in the uplink direction to measure WLAN to WAN throughput. The top trace shows average wireless uplink throughput of 23.7Mbps without the router in the picture and 16.5Mbps with the router cut in - slightly over 30% throughput reduction due to the router.

3Com WLAN-WAN Routing vs. AP uplink throughput

Figure 9: 3Com WLAN-WAN Routing vs. AP uplink throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

Figure 9 shows the same tests repeated on the 3Com with results of 21.2Mbps and 18.1Mbps without and with router respectively, about a 15% throughput reduction due to the 3Com's routing code.

NETGEAR WAN-WLAN Routing vs. AP downlink throughput

Figure 10: NETGEAR WAN-WLAN Routing vs. AP downlink throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

Figures 10 and 11 repeat the same tests, this time in the downlink (WAN to WLAN) direction, with similar results. The NETGEAR's downlink results were 22.9Mbps without and 16.2Mbps with router engaged, again about a 30% hit. And the 3Com's downlink tests clocked in at 20.2Mbps without and 17.0Mbps with router engaged, also again about a 15% hit.

3Com WAN-WLAN Routing vs. AP downlink throughput

Figure 11: 3Com WAN-WLAN Routing vs. AP downlink throughput
(click on the image for a larger view)

The upshot of the routing tests are that while the NETGEAR has about 12% higher best-case wireless speed than the 3Com, the speed advantage goes to 3Com when using the products in routing mode. Not that any of this matters, however, since when the products are used as intended - with typical hotel Internet connections - either product has more than enough routing speed.

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