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Wireless Reviews

Performance

I used the open-air test method described here to test the WGA6's performance. Since one of the main reasons for this review is to compare the WET610N and WGA600N, I had Cisco resend a WRT400N router, which I had used for the WET610N's tests. So testing was as apples-to-apples as I could make it.

The 400N had the latest 1.0.01 B19 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 and to switch between 20 and 40 MHz wide channel modes as needed. The WGA6 was upgraded from 1.00 to 1.05 firmware, with all defaults left in place except for disabling WISH.

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. Best case downlink throughput of 63.9 Mbps was measured at Location A using a 40 MHz channel in the 5 GHz band.

WGA600N six location downlink summary

Figure 5: WGA600N six location downlink summary

As with most draft 11n products, I wasn't able to connect in Locations E and F in 5 GHz using either a 20 or 40 MHz channel. I had no problems connecting or running tests in all locations using the 2.4 GHz band, although throughput in Location E was so low that I'd say it was marginally usable.

Figure 6 shows a composite of the actual IxChariot test results running downlink 2.4 GHz w/ 20 MHz channel. Throughput variation is pretty low, and comparable with what I saw with the WET610N (open the plot).

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

Once again, because the 400N's throughput variation is low to start with (open the plot), I can't say for sure where the secret sauce is hidden. But either way, the combination of WRT400N and WGA600N produce steadier throughput that most draft 11n combinations that I have tested.

Figure 7 shows a six location plot for the uplink direction of all modes tested, which typically shows slightly lower speeds than downlink. Best case uplink throughput of 60.2 Mbps was again measured using a 40 MHz channel at Location A, but in the 2.4 GHz band. The IxChariot uplink plot looks similar to the downlink, with somewhat higher variation, however.

WGA600N six location uplink summary

Figure 7: WGA600N six location uplink summary

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