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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Overview

The WRT310N implements Linksys' standard wireless feature set for its draft 11n routers, including:

  • Mixed, BG-Mixed, N-only, G-only, B-only Disable modes
  • Auto, Standard - 20 MHz, Wide - 40 MHz channel width
  • Auto and manual channel selection
  • SSID Broadcast disable
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup, WEP, WPA/WPA2 Personal and Enterprise security
  • Wireless MAC filtering with Permit / Prevent options
  • AP Isolation, Frame Burst control, Basic and Transmit Rate controls
  • CTS Protection, Beacon and DTIM interval, Fragmentation and RTS Threshold, WMM

Note that there is no transmit power control, nor is there a control to convert the 310N to function as an access point instead of a router, nor support for WDS bridging and repeating.

Wireless Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

I used the open air test method described here to test the 310N's wireless performance. Testing was done using the new SNB standard wireless test client, an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card and driver in a Dell Mini 12 running WinXP Home SP3.

The router had the latest v1.0.07-LS-HND firmware and I left all factory default settings in place, except to set channel 1. On the Intel client side, I left all defaults in place except for enabling throughput enhancement (packet bursting).

Figure 14 shows the summary of up and downlink tests in all six test locations with the default 20 MHz and "Auto" (40 MHz) channel bandwidth modes. Best-case throughput of 83.8 Mbps was measured running uplink with a 40 MHz channel. I was able to connect and complete the 1 minute tests in all six locations. But except for running uplink with the default 20 MHz channel bandwidth, speed in Locations E and F was barely usable.

Six location wireless throughput summary

Figure 14: Six location wireless throughput summary

Figure 15 shows a summary plot of IxChariot downlink tests with a 20 MHz channel width. The high throughput variation, which is common in all draft 11n routers, seems to indicate that the Forward Error Correction (FEC) technology that Broadcom told me about at CES doesn't seem to have made it into at least this version of the 310N's firmware.

Wireless throughput summary - downlink, 20 MHz channel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 15: Wireless throughput summary - downlink, 20 MHz channel

Variation is about the same running uplink and with 40 MHz channels. You can check out the plots via these links: (uplink - 20 MHz, downlink - 40 MHz, uplink - 40 MHz).

Figure 16 summarizes the wireless security mode check, showing over 60% throughput reduction when using either WEP or WPA/TKIP security, but no measurable loss using WPA2/AES.

Wireless security throughput - downlink, 20 MHz channel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 16: Wireless security throughput - downlink, 20 MHz channel

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