|At a Glance|
|Product||NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless Router (WPN824)|
|Summary||802.11b/g enhanced-wireless router based on Atheros Super-G radio with Video54 MIMO antenna technology.|
|Pros||• Indoor performance comparable to other MIMO products
• Client can provide improved performance when mixed with normal 11g products
• Priced below True MIMO-based products
|Cons||• Different settings required to optimize different performance aspects
• No wireless bridging or repeating
• No QoS controls
• Limited wireless monitoring
• Twice as expensive as 11g products
Even though the high-rate wireless 802.11n standard still does not have a working draft, wireless networking product vendors are proceeding with the deployment of gear that provides higher speeds and longer range than standard 802.11g products. Since the Wi-Fi Alliance announced it would bring its ruler down across the knuckles of any company daring to use "802.11n" in any form, most vendors have chosen to use the "MIMO" moniker to hawk their offerings.
Most of the noise to date in the MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) wireless networking space has been made by products using Airgo Networks' True MIMO proprietary technology. But MIMO products using other proprietary technology have recently started to hit the shelves.
In this review, I'll look at NETGEAR's WPN824, the first product to use startup Video54's BeamFlex smart-antenna technology to add MIMO capability. NETGEAR has dubbed its implementation of Video54's RF magic RangeMax and is so far the only vendor to offer product with Video54 inside.
I'll be making plenty of comparisons to the results I obtained in my recent review of the True MIMO-based Linksys WRT54GX. But if you're looking for info on how the WPN824 stacks up against D-Link's Super-G w/ MIMO gear, you won't find any. Despite repeated requests to both Atheros - which supplies the VLocity chipset upon which the products are based - and D-Link, product has not been forthcoming.