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Wi-Fi Router Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Router Charts

Mesh System Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Mesh System Charts

Routing Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

Table 1 summarizes the results of the Play Max' routing tests, which were run with 1.00.16 firmware and our standard test procedure.

Test Description Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN 84.3
LAN - WAN 90
Total Simultaneous 88
Max. Connections 8170
Firmware Version 1.00.16
Table 1: Routing throughput

Routing throughput measured 84 Mbps WAN to LAN, 90 Mbps LAN to WAN and 88 Mbps with both directions running simultaneously. Our new Maximum Simultaneous Connection test came in at 8,170, a bit lower than Cisco's new Valet M10 router. But the number indicates a session table about 8K big.

Figure 16 shows the IxChariot aggregate plots for WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous routing throughput tests, all of which are nice and steady.

Belkin Play Max routing throughput
Click to enlarge image

Figure 16: Belkin Play Max routing throughput

File Transfer Performance

File transfer speed to the shared USB drive using our Vista SP1 file copy test produced speeds of only around 3.5 MB/s for write and just shy of 4 MB/s for read, using both FAT and NTFS-formatted drives. This pales in comparison to the NETGEAR WNDR3700, which produced write and read speeds around 10 MB/s.

Wireless Performance

Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins

I used the open air test method described here to test the Play Max' wireless performance. Testing was done using our standard wireless test client, an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card in a Dell Mini 12 running WinXP Home SP3 and version of the Intel drivers. I left all client-side defaults in place.

The router was loaded with version 1.00.16 firmware. All factory default settings were left in place, except setting channel 1 for the 2.4 GHz band and 36 for the 5 GHz band.

The Play Max properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode in the 2.4 GHz band and also selected that mode for the 5 GHz radio. It also properly limited the link rate to 54 Mbps when I ran tests with WEP encryption. I wasn't able to test WPA/TKIP link rate limiting because the router doesn't have a WPA-only mode. I was able to successfully run a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) PIN connect test, which resulted in a WPA2/AES connection.

Figure 17 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. The other plots can be viewed via these links: uplink- 20 MHz BW; downlink 40 MHz BW; uplink 40 MHz BW.

In general, the Max' wireless performance was a mixed bag. It didn't produce the highest speeds in either the 2.4 or 5 GHz band that we've seen using a single direction test, with a best-case 89.9 Mbps at Location A in the 2.4 GHz band w/ 20 MHz bandwidth mode. 5 GHz performance was good, but not exceptional, and joined our failed-to-reach-test-Locations-E-and-F club.

Belkin Play Max Wireless Throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz B/W downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 17: Belkin Play Max Wireless Throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz B/W downlink

One issue that could be holding the router back in the Wireless charts was the tendency of its link rate to get stuck at higher link rates in weaker signal locations, which produced lower throughput. For a few tests, we had to disconnect and re-associate the client and router in order to get better throughput.

On the plus side, however, we found that running simultaneous up and downlink tests produced 120 Mbps of total throughput (Location A, 2.4 GHz, 40 MHz B/W), indicating more bandwidth available to share with multiple clients.

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