Wireless Performance - 5 GHz
Figure 8 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for all 5 GHz band downlink tests using 20 MHz channel width. Just as with the Cisco E4200, despite the use of outboard 5 GHz amplifiers, the WNDR4000 could not reach into Locations E and F.
The large dropouts you see in the Location A run below were seen in multiple test runs and could really put a crimp in HD video streams. Note also the significant drop in throughput at Location D.
Figure 8: NETGEAR WNDR4000 wireless throughput - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Best case 5 GHz performance was 83 Mbps running downlink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode at Location A, about 10 Mbps higher than with the 2.4 GHz radio. I measured 111 Mbps total throughput in 40 MHz mode running simultaneous up and downlink tests at Location A, again, significantly higher than the 2.4 GHz side.
Here are links to other IxChariot wireless test plots if you'd like to explore further:
- 5 GHz / 20 MHz uplink
- 5 GHz / 20 MHz up and downlink
- 5 GHz / 40 MHz downlink
- 5 GHz / 40 MHz uplink
- 5 GHz / 40 MHz up and downlink
For a competitive comparison, I generated a Performance table, selecting the Cisco Linksys E4200, and WNDR3700v2. Figure 9 shows the 2.4 GHz comparison. Although the E4200 seems to be the overall winner, a closer look comparing each of the test locations shows the E4200 and WNDR4000 more alike then different under strong to medium signal conditions.
Figure 9: Wireless Competitive Comparison - 2.4 GHz
Figure 10 shows a Location C comparison of 2.4 GHz downlink performance using one of the new Router Chart features. The three routers really run neck-and-neck, as they also do in Locations A and B.
Figure 10: Location C 2.4 GHz downlink comparison - Cisco, Linksys and NETGEAR only
But if you're interested in range, you need to focus in on Location E and F performance. And going back to Figure 9, it's clear that Cisco did something right with the E4200. Because it clearly delivers much higher throughput than the WNDR4000.
Figure 11 compares the same the routers in the 5 GHz band. The Performance tables show a split decision, with the E4200 doing better in 20 MHz mode and the WNDR4000 better in 40 MHz mode (or Up to 450 Mbps mode in NETGEAR-speak).
Figure 11: Wireless Competitive Comparison - 5 GHz
Running a Performance vs. Location Chart on the three products displays the data for a more visual comparison (Figure 12). In the default 5 GHz band mode, the WNDR4000 clearly pulls ahead of the E4200 as signal levels drop. But, as is typical of almost every dual-band N router I've tested, neither reach to Locations E and F.
Figure 12: Performance vs. Location - 5 GHz, 40 MHz B/W, Down
Use the Wireless Charts to further compare and explore the E4200's performance.