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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

I tested the 834B using our new wireless test procedures, which use both open-air testing and Azimuth's ACE 400NB Channel Emulator.

A Netgear WN511B Cardbus card was inserted into a Fujitsu P7120 Lifebook (1.2 GHz Intel Pentium M, 504 MB) notebook running WinXP Pro SP2 with all the latest updates. I upgraded to the 4.150.16.0 "Draft 2.0" driver with the Netgear client application.

The router was upgraded to V1.0.30_1.0.30NA "Draft 2.0" firmware and I left all factory default settings in place.

Maximum Throughput

To start, I ran some close range open-air IxChariot runs to look at maximum performance and throughput variation. This also provides baselines to check the Azimuth results against. Figure 10 shows uplink throughput for both 20 and 40 MHz modes and Figure 11 shows downlink.

Uplink throughput 20 and 40 MHz modes
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Figure 10: Uplink throughput - 20 and 40 MHz modes

The plots show that best case throughput comes in around 70 Mbps for uplink and slightly less for downlink using the 40 MHz ("Up to 270 Mbps") mode. The runs were done with the router and card about 10 feet apart in open air sitting in my lab with no other networks in range. The WN511B's driver appeared to properly report link rate, but I confirmed 40 MHz channel operation with the Cognio Spectrum Expert.

It's interesting that uplink throughput is very similar for both 20 and 40 MHz modes, but downlink throughput drops by about 20%.

Downlink throughput - 20 and 40 MHz modes
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Figure 11: Downlink throughput - 20 and 40 MHz modes

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