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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

I used the open air test method described here to test the 610N's wireless performance. Testing was done using a Linksys WPC600N Cardbus adapter 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 used the latest Win XP SP2 4.150.31.0 driver and Win XP's built-in Wireless Zero Config client during testing. The router was upgraded to 1.000.00 B17 firmware and I left all factory default settings in place, except to set channel 1 for the 2.4 GHz mode tests and channel 36 for the 5 GHz tests.

NOTE!Note:I wanted (and I know you wanted) to compare the 600N and 610N using open-air testing. But Linksys wasn't able to scare up a 600N for me to test. So I'll only be able to compare the best-case (Location A) open-air results that I have for the 600N.

Figure 5 shows a composite of downlink throughput tests made at the six test locations in four wireless modes: 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel; 2.4 GHz, 40 MHz channel; 5 GHz, 20 MHz channel; and 5 GHz, 40 MHz channel. Each column represents the average throughput from a one minute test.

You can see best-case (Location A) throughput is 86 Mbps using a 40 MHz channel. This is virtually the same as the 85 Mbps that I measured for the 600N.

WRT610N six location downlink summary

Figure 5: WRT610N six location downlink summary

As is typical for most products that I've open-air tested so far, the WPC600N wasn't able to even see the 610N in test Locations E and F when using the 5 GHz band. The connection was also iffy in Location D, with connection, but no traffic running downlink and only 2 Mbps throughput running uplink.

In the 2.4 GHz band, the Location F test running downlink with a 20 MHz channel didn't run the whole way, resulting in a sub-1 Mbps reading that rounded down to zero. And with a 40 MHz channel, I could connect, but not pass traffic.

Figure 6 shows a composite of the actual IxChariot test results running downlink 2.4 GHz w/ 20 MHz channel. Throughput isn't exactly what I'd call steady, with lots of big ol' dropouts in all locations. But the 600N's wireless throughput had similar dropouts (pop up an example here), which I think is characteristic of Broadcom's chipset.

Six location wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: Six location wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink

Figure 7 shows the six location plots in the uplink direction. The 610N seemed like it was faster running uplink while I was testing. But the data doesn't seem to back that up, at least not consistently.

WRT610N six location uplink summary

Figure 7: WRT610N six location uplink summary

The IxChariot plots look very similar to the downlink, including the periodic throughput dropout. You can see them here if you want.

I also tested for throughput reduction with wireless security set to WEP, WPA/TKIP and WPA2/AES and found the usual penalty in WEP and WPA/TKIP—about 40% in this case (Figure 8).

Security mode comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 8: Security mode comparison - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink

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