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Wireless Tests - RangeMax mode test results

The results are shown in bar chart form in Figures 12 and 13 and provide some interesting insights. You can see that the 824's Advanced wireless settings have a significant impact on throughput. I was most surprised to see that under my indoor test conditions, that enabling the eXtended Range (XR) option generally lowered throughput significantly in the uplink (STA [client] to AP) direction. The worst-case decrease in uplink throughput - 40% - was experienced in Location 2 with Auto108 and just XR enabled.

RangeMax mode Throughput vs. Location - Uplink

Figure 12: RangeMax mode Throughput vs. Location - Uplink
(click on image to enlarge)

Figure 13 shows that downlink variation was generally less, except for the Location 4 test, which had the highest throughput decrease - 50% - with both XR and AR (Adaptive Radio) options enabled.

RangeMax mode Throughput vs. Location - Downlink

Figure 13: RangeMax mode Throughput vs. Location - Downlink
(click on image to enlarge)

You might be wondering what the "Auto108+XR on stand" settings were. These tests were done in Auto108 mode with XR enabled and the 824 elevated approximately 3 inches above an MDF desktop using a cardboard box. This tip is actually found on Netgear's How NETGEAR's RangeMax Improves on Existing 802.11 Technology page, i.e.

"The WPN824 router is easier to set up than a standard wireless router: There are no antennas to deploy or screw, no need to orientate antennas, no need to orientate the device, and no risk of breaking the antenna or antenna cable. Just put it in a open space, elevate 3 inches, and it's ready to go! NETGEAR finds there are fewer driver and other conflicts than with other MIMO technology, and that installation is much easier."

When I queried NETGEAR about this recommendation, they said while it was not necessary, they had seen a performance improvement when doing this with "legacy routers". The test results seem to indicate that this recommendation helped counteract XR's negative effects in the uplink direction, but no consistent effect on downlink performance.

Since I never had run this series of tests on "normal" Super-G gear, i.e. without Video54's BeamFlex enhancement, I decided to do just that. So I repeated a subset of the tests using a NETGEAR WGU624 Double 108 router and WG511U Double 108 PC card. I shut off the 802.11a radio in the WGU624 and disabled the 11a options in the WG511U card, but otherwise left settings at their defaults.

Super-G mode Throughput vs. Location - Uplink

Figure 14: Super-G mode Throughput vs. Location - Uplink
(click on image to enlarge)

About the only thing I can definitely say from Figures 14 and 15 is that RangeMax throughput is generally higher than normal Super-G for both uplink and downlink tests. It also seems like the combination of Auto108, XR and AR hurts throughput less in normal Super-G and in some cases even improves throughput, which is what one might reasonably expect.

I suspect that NETGEAR and Video54 are aware of some or all of what I've seen, since as this review neared completion, NETGEAR said they were testing new firmware that includes performance enhancements.

Super-G mode Throughput vs. Location - Downlink

Figure 15: Super-G mode Throughput vs. Location - Downlink
(click on image to enlarge)

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