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Router Charts

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Mesh Charts

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The Test and Verdict

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: Linksys WRT54G router
Firmware/Driver Versions:

AP f/w: V2.04.4
Wireless client driver:
Build 618 Client 3.04
Wireless client f/w: 1.36
Test
Description
Transfer
Rate
(Mbps)
Response
Time
(msec)
UDP
stream
Throughput
(kbps)
Lost
data
(%)

STA to AP -
Location 1

8.6
[No WEP]
8.6
[w/WEP]

1 (avg)
2 (max)

500

0 %

STA to AP -
Location 2
8.5 Not tested Not tested Not tested
STA to AP -
Location 3
7.9 Not tested Not tested Not tested
STA to AP -
Location 4
5.5 Not tested Not tested Not tested

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

I tested throughput in both uplink (Figure 11) (STA to AP) and downlink (Figure 12) (AP to STA) directions at my normal four test locations, with the card loaded into an H2210 iPAQ running PocketPC 2003 (specifically Version 4.20.1081 Build 13100). The H2210 was fast enough to use at least a little of 802.11g's additional bandwidth, posting a top average throughput of almost 11 Mbps in the downlink direction.

Although this is less than half what normal 11g products can do, it shows that you can get a throughput boost - if that floats your boat - if your PocketPC has enough oomph. (For reference, the H2210 uses an Intel PXA255 processor clocked at 400MHz.)

WCF54G Uplink mode throughput comparison

Figure 11: Uplink mode throughput comparison
(click on the image for a larger view)

WCF54G Downlink mode throughput comparison

Figure 12: Downlink mode throughput comparison
(click on the image for a larger view)

While the throughput looks more consistent than what I normally see with 802.11g products, I did a quick comparison with the test results from the WRT54G review, which used a WPC54G Cardbus adapter in a 1GHz Dell notebook. The conclusion I reached is that the WCF54G's relatively consistent Location 1,2 and 3 throughput results are more due to throughput limiting from the H2210's processor, than they are due to superior RF performance. In other words, in those locations, you're seeing the H2210's networking throughput limit, not the WCF54G's. It's worth noting, however, that the 5.5Mbps Location 4 uplink average throughput of of the H2210 / WCF54G beats the 4.8Mbps turned in by the Dell notebook / WPC54G combination.

I have no idea what the market is for wireless CF cards for PocketPCs, although I suspect it may be more in embedded vs. consumer retail applications. At any rate, at least for the time being, Linksys has the market to itself and the WCF54G's approximately 200% price premium (at time of review) over its CardBus sibling reflects this.

But the card does provide a throughput benefit both for the PocketPC it's installed in and to the 802.11g AP that it associates with. The question for buyers will be whether the value delivered is worth the asking price.

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