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Wireless Performance - 5 GHz

Moving up to 5 GHz, we can again see higher throughput from the EA3500 vs. the EA2700 in the strongest signal test location A. This advantage fades as signal levels drop, however. Although the test client did show link rates above 130/144 Mbps during testing, there doesn't seem to be much throughput gain from using 40 MHz bandwidth.

EA2700 Performance Table - 5 GHz

EA2700 Performance Table - 5 GHz

Simultaneous up/downlink tests also showed throughput gain in this band, yielding 69 Mbps in 20 MHz mode and 85 Mbps in 40 MHz mode.

The IxChariot plot summary for 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode downlink in two-stream mode is below and shows some rate shifting at the start of the Location D test run. I ran the test multiple times with similar results.

Cisco EA2700 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink
Cisco EA2700 IxChariot plot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode, downlink

Here are links to the other plots for your reference.

Closing Thoughts

Similar to the EA3500, the EA2700 doesn't set any new wireless performance standards. In fact, its standout feature is that its throughput in 20 and 40 MHz bandwidth modes is suprisingly similar. And at least until (or if) Cisco fixes it, the EA2700 bears the distinction of being the only 802.11n router tested to date that won't switch to 40 MHz bandwidth modes in 2.4 GHz if you manually set the channel.

If you're on the fence between the EA2700 and EA3500, my advice is to spend the extra $30 and get the latter. Or if you don't care about Cisco's "app-enabled" future and don't mind 10/100 ports vs. Gigabit, save $10 and get the E2500.

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