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Wireless Reviews

Routing Performance

Updated 10/21/2010: Corrected routing performance comment

Routing performance for the E3000 using our standard test method is summarized in Table 1, along with the 610N's (V1) test results for comparison. Since the CPU is the same Broadcom BCM4705 for both routers, the E3000's higher performance can only be attributed to improved routing firmware. The E3000's higher routing throughput is probably due to its faster CPU. I don't have a 610N V2 to test. But I'd imagine that its current firmware would provide similar performance.

Test Description E3000
Throughput - (Mbps)
WRT610N (V1)
Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN
218
136
LAN - WAN
249
157
Total Simultaneous
258
143
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 12,277 200
Firmware Version
1.0.00 B026
1.000.00 B17
Table 1: Routing throughput

The Maximum Simultaneous Connections test of 200 connections for the 610N is the highest that I could measure with the old test technique. Again, I have no reason to believe that the 610N V2 wouldn't achieve something similar to the E3000's 12,000+ sessions, with current firmware.

Figure 4 is a composite plot of the three routing tests, which shows pretty steady throughput.

E3000 Routing throughput composite plot
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: E3000 Routing throughput composite plot

Use the Router Charts to see how the E3000 stacks up against other routers.

Wireless Performance

I used our standard open air test method to test the E3000's 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 13.1.1.1 of the Intel drivers. I left all client-side defaults in place.

The E3000 was running with 1.0.00 B026 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. Starting with this review, I'll be doing wireless performance testing with WPA2/AES encryption enabled, since that's how we all should be running out wireless networks now, anyway. Since all N hardware has sufficient horsepower to handle this security without losing throughput, this change won't affect performance.

I ran checks with WEP 128, WPA / TKIP and WPA2 / AES wireless security modes and found that the router properly limited link rates to 54 Mbps when using WEP and WPA / TKIP. I also ran a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) test using the PIN mode supported by the Intel client. It completed successfully on the first try, setting up a WPA2 / AES connection.

Figure 5 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all 2.4 GHz band downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. Throughput variation actually seems lower than other recent products, with only an occasional large dropout.

Cisco E3000 wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 5: Cisco E3000 wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

The E3000's 2.4 GHz performance was comparable to other N routers, with perhaps a bit higher throughput than typical in the difficult lower signal test locations E and F. Best case throughput of 79.9 Mbps was obtained in Location A, running uplink in 40 MHz mode. Other IxChariot plots can be viewed via these links: 2.4 GHz uplink- 20 MHz BW; 2.4 GHz downlink 40 MHz BW; 2.4 GHz uplink 40 MHz BW.

Figure 6 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all 5 GHz band downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. As usual, there are no results for locations E and F because the Intel client couldn't even detect the E3000's signal.

Cisco E3000 wireless throughput - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: Cisco E3000 wireless throughput - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Throughput variation appears to be higher than the 2.4 GHz radio's and best case throughput of 82.1 Mbps was measured running uplink in 40 MHz mode. Other IxChariot plots can be viewed via these links: 5 GHz uplink- 20 MHz BW; 5 GHz downlink 40 MHz BW; 5 GHz uplink 40 MHz BW.

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