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Wireless Performance

I used the open air test method described here to test the 3700's wireless performance. Testing was done using the SNB standard wireless test client, an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card in a Dell Mini 12 running WinXP Home SP3. I left all client-side defaults in place except for enabling throughput enhancement (packet bursting).

I periodically check to see if Intel has updated the 5300 driver and found they had. So I upgraded to version 12.4.3.9 before I started range testing. The router had the latest 1.0.4.35NA firmware and all factory default settings in place, except setting channel 1 for the 2.4 GHz mode tests and channel 36 for the 5 GHz tests.

Figure 9 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 91.8 Mbps was measured using a 40 MHz channel in the 2.4 GHz band at Location A.

Six location downlink throughput summary

Figure 9: Six location downlink throughput summary

As is typical with all dual-band draft 11n routers tested to date, I wasn't able to connect in Locations E and F to the 5 GHz radio using either a 20 or 40 MHz channel width. Speeds in the 2.4 GHz band were actually a bit better than I've seen with other routers in Locations E and F, even using 40 MHz channel bandwidth.

Figure 10 shows a composite of the actual IxChariot test results running downlink in 2.4 GHz w/ 20 MHz channel width. Although not perfect, throughput stability seemed better than I have seen in most other N routers.

Six location wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink
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Figure 10: Six location wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz channel, downlink

Figure 11 shows the six location plot for the uplink direction, with best case uplink throughput of 90.8 Mbps measured using a 40 MHz channel in the 2.4 GHz band at Location A.

Six location uplink summary

Figure 11: Six location uplink summary

The IxChariot uplink plot is similar to the downlink, showing moderately high variation. Here are the other composite IxChariot plots if you'd like a peek:

The most unstable throughput is shown in the 2.4 and 5 GHz / 40 down plots in Location A. Based on my discussion with NETGEAR, I suspect there is some receiver overload causing this, even with the 3700 and test client 10 feet apart.

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