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Internal details

Unlike the completely shielded module used in the True-MIMO based Belkin Pre-N and Linksys SRX routers, the inside of the 824 uses more conventional construction (Figure 1).

The WPN824 board

Figure 1: The WPN824 board
(click on image to enlarge)

The only shield is a small one covering the RF section of the Atheros-based Super-G radio in the center left of Figure 1. The photo clearly shows the seven antennas that are part of Video54's BeamFlex secret sauce. The other part is the processing software, which is embedded in the 824's firmware.

The WPN824 board bottom

Figure 2: The WPN824 board bottom
(click on image to enlarge)

The bottom view of the board in Figure 2 shows a pattern of seven more antenna elements that are part of the same array seen on top of the board.

At the heart of the design is an Atheros AR2313 Wireless System on a Chip that includes a 32-bit MIPS R4000-class processor and multi-protocol MAC/baseband processing engine. There's not much else to it besides Flash, RAM and a Marvell Link Street 88E6060/88E6060-I 6-Port Fast Ethernet Switch handling the 10/100 WAN and LAN ports.

While I was looking up FCC documents, I checked the ones for the WPN511 RangeMax card. What I found is that the card is a relabel of an Atheros Super-G CardBus card reference design (FCC ID: PPD-AR5BCB-00051), which is also relabeled as the D-Link DWL-G630.

This means the RangeMax client doesn't use a fancy antenna array and depends primarily on Video54's BeamFlex algorithms for performance-enhancement.

The WPN511 board

Figure 2a: The WPN511 board
(click on image to enlarge)

Figure 2a shows that the card has only the typical printed circuit dipole antennas found in most wireless CardBus cards. NETGEAR's explanation was that given the small space available, the optimum number of antennas is two.

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