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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance - 2.4 GHz Two Stream

For performance comparison, I chose the NETGEAR WNDR4500 and Apple Airport Extreme Gen 5, since both have three-stream N radios on both bands. I also included the original E4200, even though it supports three-stream N in 5 GHz only.

The comparison tables are large, so I'm going to provide links that will open them in a new window/tab to make things easier. Let's start with the Performance Table for 2.4 GHz and 20 MHz mode. In this group of tests, the original E4200 seems to come out on top. But note that it was tested using a different wireless adapter, Intel's 5300, but with only two antennas connected.

Despite the flakiness that this can cause on downlink connections (explained here..scroll down halfway), the original E4200's throughput holds up much better than the V2's as signal levels fall (Locations D-F). In fact, while the client remained connected to the V2 in Location F in all cases, the connection's throughput was not high or stable enough to run the IxChariot test with the router set to Auto 20/40 MHz bandwidth mode.

I haven't seen this sort of behavior in a long time, which could be caused as much by the different test client as the router. So I reran some of the tests using an original E4200 that I had in the SNB closet. The combination of original E4200 and new Intel Centrino 6200 client was able to run the Location F tests in 40 MHz mode, although with low throughput.

The throughput of other tests I spot-checked showed performance similar to the V2's, although with higher throughput in Location D for the original E4200. Here are links to IxChariot plots of retest data:

The IxChariot plot summary below for 20 MHz mode downlink shows generally stable throughput.

Cisco E4200V2 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream
Cisco E4200V2 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 2 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Wireless Performance - 2.4 GHz, Three Stream

Next, we'll look at the Performance Table for Three-Stream 2.4 GHz and 20 MHz mode. This time, the V2 was able to connect and run tests in all locations in 20 and 40 MHz bandwidth modes. But Location F throughput is still on the low side. The WNDR4500, which is the only other "N900" router so support all tested modes, generally does better than the E4200V2. But it also won't give you very high throughput under low signal conditions.

Here are the IxChariot plots for 20 MHz mode downlink in three-stream mode. Throughput is again generally well-behaved, but with higher variation. Clicking through the other plots will also show higher throughput variation.

Cisco E4200V2 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream
Cisco E4200V2 IxChariot plot summary - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink, 3 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

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