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Wireless Performance

NOTE!NOTES:
"Signal Strength" readings were not available
Test client was a Buffalo Tech WLI-CB-G54S Cardbus client card in a WinXP Home Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop
• Tests are for STA to AP (uplink) unless otherwise noted

Even though I'd previously tested Broadcom's "Afterburner" throughput-enhancement technology when I reviewed the Linksys WRT54GS back in April, this was my first test of Afterburner with its 125* High Speed Mode moniker. No matter what it's called, however, I once again found that Broadcom's wireless speed-enhancement technology hurts rather than helps throughput under lower-signal conditions.

BuffaloTech WZR-RS-G54: Four location throughput comparison - downlink

Figure 16: Four location throughput comparison - downlink
(click image for larger view)

Figures 16 and 17 are IxChariot plots at my four test locations for down and uplink tests respectively. You can see that once you get a wall or two between the WZR and client that throughput drops significantly, with the uplink case definitely suffering more. Both tests fared very poorly in my outside Location 4 test with the downlink test quitting after about 40 seconds when the connection was lost.

BuffaloTech WZR-RS-G54: Four location throughput comparison - uplink

Figure 17: Four location throughput comparison - uplink
(click image for larger view)

The missing UDP streaming results in the uplink throughput table above were caused by BSOD's shortly after I started Qcheck UDP streaming tests at my normal 500kbps rate. I could consistently get a Win XP SP2 BSOD with DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL message and crash dump when I tried to run the test at anything other than my best-case test location (with approximately 6 feet between WZR and client). After some thought, I decided to try changing the WZR's Frame Bursting settings - first to Frame Bursting, then to Disabled. In both of these cases, the UDP streaming test ran fine at the same test location where it had consistently BSOD'd.

This UDP streaming fix prompted me to also re-run throughput tests with the Frame Bursting and Disabled Frame Bursting settings at my outside test location (Location 4). Figure 18 shows that throughput performance significantly improved - essentially changing this location from unusable to having respectable throughput.

BuffaloTech WZR-RS-G54: Location 4 downlink - Frame Bursting mode comparison
Figure 18: Location 4 downlink - Frame Bursting mode comparison
(click image for larger view)

802.11g Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions


- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: Buffalo Technology WLI-CB-G54S 125* High Speed Mode Wireless Notebook Adapter

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
V 2.31
Wireless client driver:
WinXP 3.50.21.10
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test Description Signal Strength (%) Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 1 0 32
[No WEP]
31.6
[w/ WEP]
1 (avg)
1 (max)
469 0
Client to AP - Condition 2 0 4.1 1 (avg)
1 (max)
0 0
Client to AP - Condition 3 0 5.6 1 (avg)
1 (max)
0 0
Client to AP - Condition 4 0 0.6 1 (avg)
1 (max)
0 0
See details of how we test.

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