Performance and Closing Thoughts
I performed all throughput testing using three computers:
- Mercury: Compaq Presario S5400NX with a P4 2.6Ghz processor and 504MB of memory
- Zombie: Dell XPS D333 with a PII 333Mhz processor and 256MB of memory
- Nomad: Dell Inspiron 1000 laptop with Celeron 2.2Ghz processor, 224MB of memory and a ZyXEL ZyAIR G-100 wireless card.
Tests were performed with all computers running Windows XP and using IXIA's QCheck utility set to TCP 1000 kByte file size. All results represent an average of at least three tests.
I placed the ZyXEL G-2000 Plus in my computer "dungeon", a spare bedroom upstairs in my two-story wood-frame home, stocked with all sorts of things like monitors, TV sets, and flourescent lights that can sometimes affect wireless connectivity.
|Dungeon||20.05 Mbps||Sitting right beside the G-2000 Plus|
|Upstairs Hallway||15.87 Mbps||About 10 feet away with a clear line of sight to GP2|
|Upstairs Bedroom||16.27 Mbps||About 10 feet away, through 1 interior wall|
|Dining room||16.35 Mbps||About 15 feet away, through 1 interior wall and a wood frame floor|
|Living room||12.02 Mbps||About 15 feet away, through 2 interior walls and a wood frame floor|
|Bottom of stairs||7.12 Mbps||About 20 feet away through 1 interior wall and down a flight of steps|
|Den||17.3 Mbps||About 20 feet away, through 4 interior walls and a wood frame floor|
||About 35 feet away, through 2 interior walls, 1 exterior wall, and a floor|
Table 1: Wireless Throughput Test Results
To test routing throughput, I connected Zombie to the WAN interface, and set Mercury up as the "Default Server" connected to the LAN.
|LAN to WAN||9.62 Mbits/sec|
|WAN to LAN||9.27 Mbits/sec|
|Table 2: Router Throughput Test Results|
The LAN to WAN and WAN to LAN results are disappointing, since I expected throughput to be at least equal to the 16Mbps throughput of the G-2000. But these results were verified by ZyXEL, and unfortunately are correct, at least for the moment. The performance is still fast enough to keep up with most U.S. cable modems and many DSL connections. But if you have a very fast Internet link, such as those found in many locations outside the U.S., the Plus will be the limiting factor in your Internet performance. I'd expect Zyxel to remedy this problem with a firmware upgrade, which will be easy to apply using the web interface.
Overall, the Zyxel G-2000 Plus is a full-featured wireless router that will work well for many users, offering good functionality at a reasonable price. The real attraction, however, is its built-in PEAP and RADIUS server capabilities that make it easier for SMB users to take advantage of enhanced WPA-Enterprise level wireless security.
What may hold those same small-biz buyers back from adding the Plus to their LANs is its disappointing throughput. While 10Mbps may seem pretty good, it's more reminiscent of previous-generation routers than current-gen models that feature near 100Mbps wire-speed routing. But if your routing-speed requirements tend more toward Mbps in the single digits, then the G-2000 Plus could be your key to a more secure wireless LAN.