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Wireless Reviews

Routing Performance

Table 1 shows that the switch from Ubicom to Atheros processor brings with it around 100 Mbps lower routing throughput. I also threw in the WNDR3700's numbers for comparison, which are around 200 Mbps higher than the 825 B1 and 100 higher than the A1. Note that I disabled SPI and Traffic Shaping for the routing tests.

Test Description B1 Throughput - (Mbps) Original Throughput - (Mbps) NETGEAR WNDR3700
WAN - LAN 214.7 305.1 408.9
LAN - WAN 241.7 327.1 422.3
Total Simultaneous 228.5 319.7 473.8
Max. Connections 200 200 200
Firmware Version 2.02NA 1.01 1.0.4.35NA
Table 1: Routing throughput

Figure 6 shows what the throughput variation looks like for the WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous routing throughput tests.

DIR-825 B1 routing throughput
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: DIR-825 B1 routing throughput

Wireless Performance

I used the open air test method described here to test the B1'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 and Intel driver version 12.4.3.9. I left all client-side defaults in place except for enabling throughput enhancement (packet bursting).

The router had the latest 2.02NA 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.

I'm going to skip right to a performance comparison of the DIR-825 A1, B1 and NETGEAR WNDR3700 using the new Wireless Charts Performance Table feature. Keep in mind that the 825 A1 was tested using a D-Link DWA-160 B1 USB adapter, while both the 825 B1 and WNDR3700 were tested using the Intel 5300.

I've found that the Intel client tends to provide improved range performance over the various "matched" client adapters that I previously used. I think it's safe to say that the DWA-160 was the reason for the connection failures in test locations E and F in the 2.4 Ghz, 40 MHz bandwidth tests.

The Performance Table gathers all the average throughput test results for the selected adapters into a single table. It then highlights the highest throughput value in each Test location for each benchmark test. If results are within 1.0 Mbps of each other then both products' results are highlighted. Finally, the number of highlighted results are tallied for each test group and the product name with the most highlighted values is then highlighted.

Wireless Performance Table

Figure 7: Wireless Performance Table

It's pretty easy to see that the WNDR3700 is the best performer in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz band, both for uplink and downlink. I also ran the comparison just between the two 825's, but am not bothering to show it since the B1 wins handily. You can run it yourself very easily over at the Wireless Charts.

Highest 2.4 GHz band throughput was 87.9 Mbps running uplink with 40 MHz channel bandwidth in Location A and 99.6 Mbps also running uplink with 40 MHz channel bandwidth in Location A.

Figure 8 shows the summary plot of IxChariot tests for downlink tests with a 20 MHz channel width. Throughput is surprisingly stable, with none of the wild variation I typically see with N products.

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

Figure 8: Six location wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz bandwidth

Here are the other composite IxChariot plots if you'd like a peek:

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