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Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Two Stream

Moving up to 5 GHz, here is the Performance Table for Two-Stream 5 GHz. The EA3500 doesn't stand out from the back in this comparison. But once again, a contributing factor could be the Intel 5300 adapter used with the previously-tested products. The larger performance difference seems to be in 40 MHz bandwidth mode and lower throughput in weaker signal test locations C and D.

The IxChariot plot summary for 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode downlink in two-stream mode is below and shows some throughput variation. Clicking through the other benchmark plots below pretty high variation in Location C, 40 MHz mode downlink, which I could not get rid of despite multiple test runs.

Cisco EA3500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink - 2 stream
Cisco EA3500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink - 2 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Wireless Performance - 5 GHz, Three Stream

Finally, we come to the Performance Table for Three-Stream 5 GHz. The EA3500 displays its best performance here, with significantly higher throughput both up and downlink in 40 MHz bandwidth mode. Bandwidth is also relatively high in Location D in both 20 and 40 MHz bandwidth modes.

Here are the IxChariot plots for 20 MHz mode downlink in three-stream mode. Throughput is again, generally well-behaved, but with occasional higher variation as shown in the plot below.

Cisco EA3500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink - 3 stream
Cisco EA3500 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink - 3 stream

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Closing Thoughts

Performance wise, Cisco hasn't made any great strides forward with the EA3500. If anything, when compared with Cisco's original "N750" router, the E4200, performance is a bit lower in some cases. But as it seems with many routers today, performance is close enough that it will probably be hard to see a clear improvement in speed or range under real-world conditions.

But the EA3500 and the other members of its family aren't really a performance play. Instead, their real "App Enabled" promise lies ahead and won't start to be fully realized until this fall. Only then will buyers be able to tell whether the extra money they paid for Cisco's vision of a "smart" router was worth it. We've all seen companies make promises that they don't keep and it remains to be seen where Cisco ends up in this latest quest.

We'll be watching and waiting along with you and look forward to getting our hands on Cisco's next step along its path, Cisco Connect Cloud. Read this SmallCloudBuilder article for more on that.

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