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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The Xi-2 was tested using the V8 Wireless test process. All wireless testing was done using 1.0 firmware. Channel 6 was set on the 2.4 GHz radio, but bandwidth mode could not be set. Link rate, however, indicated 20 MHz bandwidth mode was in use for testing. Channel 153 was set on the 5 GHz radio and it also had no bandwidth mode controls. Link rates during testing indicated 40 MHz bandwidth mode was in use, however.

The AP was laid flat and centered on the turntable for testing with the 0° position having the the connectors facing away from the chamber antennas. All testing was done via WPA2/AES secured connections.

The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. Since I have no other N300 or N600 class access points or routers tested with the same process to compare, I won't spend any time putting these results in perspective.

Benchmark Summary

Benchmark Summary

Although we can't directly compare throughput, we can use use throughput vs. attenuation curves to compare range. I used the only other access point tested with the V8 process, Linksys' LAPC1750PRO AC1750 class AP, for comparison.

An AC1750 class AP supports a maximum 40 MHz bandwidth mode link rate of 450 Mbps in 2.4 GHz, while an N600 class AP's maximum link rate is 300 Mbps (when used with a 3x3 client). Since I use 20 MHz mode for 2.4 GHz testing, the maximums are 217 and 144 Mbps, respectively, which is what I got with both products when connected at 0 dB attenuation.

This results in higher starting throughput for the Linksys as shown in the 2.4 GHz downlink plot below. But the Linksys loses its throughput advantage at 21 dB attenuation (medium strength) and the two track together until 51 dB, where the Linksys disconnects. The Xclaim says connected all the way to 60 dB, indicating superior range.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows a similar story, but with less of a starting advantage for the Linksys and a steeper throughput decline that actually brings it under the Xclaim for awhile. Once again, the Linksys disconnects at 51 dB while the Xclaim goes all the way to 60 dB.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The LAPAC1750PRO starts with a much larger throughput advantage in the 5 GHz downlink benchmark, as you would expect from a 3x3 AC radio. But throughput declines steeply with disconnect after 27 dB, while the Xclaim hangs in (albeit with a marginally useful ~3 Mbps connection) out to 39 dB.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz uplink results are similar to downlink, with the Xclaim disconnecting much later to offer superior range.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Closing Thoughts

Xclaim's About page says "We hope you find the solution simple, robust and incredibly elegant". That might be where they are headed, but it ain't where the product is now. My short time with the product, which I purchased since Xclaim's review program hasn't started yet, was generally frustrating when it came to setting up and interacting with the device management.

A web interface is sorely needed. Or at least, apps that take better advantage of larger tablet screens and landscape mode. And "simiple and elegant" does not mean you can skip documentation. The app is not as intuitive as you think it is, folks.

The one bright spot is the product's performance. I was especially surprised with its 5 GHz range, which easily beat the one AP that I could fairly compare it to and most of the AC routers I've tested. 2.4 GHz performance wasn't bad either, which also showed superior range and throughput equal to an AC1750 access point at medium strength signals and lower.

If you're seriously considering an Xclaim, I strongly suggest you spend some time in the forums and read most of the threads. You'll get a flavor for the company's attitude toward the product and users and also get the skinny on what works and doesn't. If you decide to buy, you'll be keeping it, since Xclaim does not accept any returns on the product.

If you like being a beta tester and paying for the privilege, by all means go for it. Because that's where the product is now.

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