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Storage

The Storage features are unchanged from the E3000, i.e. SMB file sharing, FTP and UPnP AV media serving. FAT32, NTFS, and HFS+ formatted drives are supported and there is a built-in FAT formatter. But if you're looking for iTunes serving, Torrent downloader, AFP or Time Machine support, move on.

Figure 10 is the main disk management menu showing an attached FAT-formatted drive. Other screens allow you to create users and groups, set access permissions and create shares.

Storage Disk settings

Figure 10: Storage Disk settings

Media server controls are very simple with only server naming and scan controls (folder select, scan time [2 (default), 6, 12, 24, 48 hours], manual scan and folder delete). A twonkymedia.db folder auto-created on the USB drive was a giveaway. But I couldn't find general Twonkymedia server controls on either port 9000 or 9001.

I was able to successfully mount and test filecopy performance for both FAT and NTFS formatted drives. The Win 7 Filecopy windows shown in Figures 11 and 12 show speeds in the 5 to 7 MB/s range during the NFTS copy of a 1 GB file in a mixed filesize folder. Speeds for a FAT-formatted drive were similar.

Filecopy speed to NTFS formatted USB drive

Figure 11: Filecopy speed to NTFS formatted USB drive

Filecopy speed to NTFS formatted USB drive

Figure 12: Filecopy speed from NTFS formatted USB drive

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the E4200 using our standard test method and 1.0.00 firmware is summarized in Table 1. Even though the E4200 is using the same BCM4718 as the E3000, the E4200's routing performance has been goosed a bit.

Test Description E4200
Throughput - (Mbps)
E3000
Throughput - (Mbps)
WAN - LAN
687
218
LAN - WAN
689
249
Total Simultaneous
726
258
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 34,925 12,277
Firmware Version
1.0.00
1.0.00 B026
Table 1: Routing throughput

Routing throughput ranks among the top 5 and in some cases is more than 3X the E3000's performance, including simultaneous sessions.

Figure 13 is a composite IxChariot plot of the three routing tests.

E4200 routing throughput

Figure 13: E4200 routing throughput

Use the Router Charts for more comparisons.

Wireless Performance - 2.4 GHz

I used our standard open air test method to test the E4200's wireless performance. As usual, I set the 2.4 GHz radio to Channel 1 and the 5 GHz radio to Channel 36. I've recently changed to running performance tests using WPA2 / AES encryption instead of no encryption, because that's how Wi-Fi gear should be secured today. So that's how the E4200 was tested and I left all other router defaults in place.

The test client was an Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300 AGN mini-PCIe card. I used an Acer Aspire 1810T notebook running Win 7 Home Premium and Intel's Win 7 13.4.0.9 driver for the Intel card, because I recently switched to that platform, again to more accurately reflect current usage patterns.

I skipped checking fallback to 54 Mbps link rates when using WEP 128 and WPA / TKIP because the E4200 is Wi-Fi Certified and their test suite confirms that. I did run a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) test using the PIN mode supported by Win 7. It completed successfully on the first try, setting up a WPA2 / AES connection.

Figure 14 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all 2.4 GHz band downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. Throughput variation is moderately low and generally free of large, long dropouts. I also generally found downlink throughput higher than uplink in the 2.4 GHz band, but more evenly matched in 5 GHz.

Of particular note is the 20+ Mbps throughput in the weakest signal test locations E and F and 62 Mbps throughput in medium-low signal location D. I suspect this is why the folks posting over in the forums are seeing the E4200 outperform the WNDR3700 (more later).

Cisco E4200 wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Figure 14: Cisco E4200 wireless throughput - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Best case 2.4 GHz performance was 84 Mbps running downlink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode. I also measured a total 107 Mbps in 40 MHz mode running simultaneous up and downlink tests.

Here are links to other IxChariot wireless test plots if you'd like to explore further:

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