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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The E900 is Wi-Fi Certified. It defaulted to Auto channel mode and Auto (20 / 40 MHz) Channel bandwidth mode upon power-up. The router defaults to a unique SSID based on the router's serial number.

WPS is enabled by default and produced a PIN session prompt when I associated a Win 7 client. The WPS session completed successfully in a WPA2/AES connection.

The 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests yielded mixed results. The router immediately fell back to 20 MHz when the Fat Channel intolerant bit was set. But it did not restore to 40 MHz bandwidth when bit was cleared. The 40 MHz coexistence test failed, with the E900 continuing to use a 40 MHz wide channel even when the router's upper channel was set to 9.

All wireless performanc tests were run using our standard wireless test process and 1.0.04 version firmware loaded. The router was first reset to factory defaults, then set to Channel 6 and 20 MHz B/W mode. The closest surface of the router was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the front of the router facing the chamber antennas.

The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

Linksys E900 Benchmark Summary

Linksys E900 Benchmark Summary

Craig's Medialink MWN-WAPR300N review laid the groundwork for putting the E900's performance in perspective. His 2.4 GHz downlink chart filtered for most recent reviews and N300 class routers shows the E900 and Medialink running neck-and-neck.

N300 2.4 GHz downlink comparison (green, gray bar filters applied)

N300 2.4 GHz downlink comparison (green, gray bar filters applied)

The filtered uplink chart shows a larger gap in performance with the E900's average throughput around 10 Mbps lower.

N300 2.4 GHz uplink comparison (green, gray bar filters applied)

N300 2.4 GHz uplink comparison (green, gray bar filters applied)

Craig did a nice comparison of the Medialink's performance with a few AC1200 routers and the E900. I'm going to keep it simple and just compare the Medialink N300 and E900 as N300 routers.

For the 2.4 GHz downlink profile plot shows the E900 starts out with higher throughput, but begins its decline much sooner than the Medialink and disconnecting at the 60 dB attenuation point. Since this is what we use for range ranking, the E900 definitely takes a hit here.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink profile shows a similar story to downlink, but with the E900's throughput starting to fall off almost immediately. It rallies a bit at 42 dB, but still disconnects at 60 dB of attenuation.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

All this means is that the E900 has higher peak throughput, but doesn't have the range that the Medialink N300 provides.

Closing Thoughts

The Router Ranker scores the E900 two positions below the Medialink MWN-WAPR300N with total rank scores of 9.8 and 9.0, respectively (lower score is better). The performance summary shows the main reason for the lower score is the very low range rank, which comes from the 0 Mbps values at the 60 dB attenuation measurement point.

Linksys E900 Ranking Performance Summary

Linksys E900 Ranking Performance Summary

If you are looking for lower cost and don't mind reduced coverage, the Linksys E900 is a decent choice for a basic N300 class router. If you don't mind spending about $10 more, the E1200v2 will perform the same, but adds guest wireless and basic parental controls. If you're ok parting with around $50, then you might want to try the Medialink MWN-WAPR300N.

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