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Wireless Reviews

Storage Performance

Portal is the only DWS product that supports storage sharing, albeit via USB 2.0 ports. I ran our router storage test process on Portal. Portal supports only the first partition on drives with multiple partitions, which is how my test drive is formatted. So I had to reformat the first partition to test both FAT32 and NTFS performance.

I'll dispense with showing comparative charts for storage performance, since Portal came in dead last for write and read with both FAT32 and NTFS formatted drives. This should come as no surprise, given its relatively weak processor.

  • FAT32 write: 11 MB/s
  • FAT32 read: 7.9 MB/s
  • NTFS write: 7.3 MB/s
  • NTFS read: 6.3 MB/s

Routing Performance

Portal runs fine without an internet connection, so I was able to run our Version 4 router performance tests on it with Portal-1.4.136_prod-1.2.115 firmware. Functional tests were not run because Portal doesn't provide access to all the settings needed to put the router in the required standard test configuration.

Table 2 summarizes routing test results for Portal, Linksys Velop, Google Wifi and Luma. Portal's wired routing capability is clearly the lowest of the group. I should note that the TCP retries recorded for each throughput test were very high, over 80,000 for the unidirectional tests and about double that for each direction for the bi-directional tests.

Test Description Portal Linksys Velop Google Wifi Luma
WAN - LAN TCP (Mbps) 621 940 941 941
LAN - WAN TCP (Mbps) 789 941 941 941
Total Simultaneous TCP (Mbps) 704 1764 1539 1764
TCP Connection Fail Pass Pass Pass
UDP Connection Fail Fail Fail Fail
Table 2: Routing performance comparison

The other performance "feature" worthy of note is the failure of the TCP connection test. Portal supported opening only around 1300 out of the 3000 connections in the test. All connections were opened in the UDP test, but none remained open long enough for the verification pass in the test.

In all, these results show Portal would probably have a difficult time keeping up with a Gigabit class internet connection. But it should do fine for most services it is likely to be connected to.

Wireless Performance

Portal is not Wi-Fi Certified. Like most other DWS products, Portal does not support Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) and supports WPA2/AES PSK wireless encryption only.

I was able to run the V9 test process using Portal-1.4.136_prod-1.2.115 firmware without Portal connected to the internet. But because Portal provides no control over channel or bandwidth mode, I had to use Channel 1 and 36 instead of our standard 6 and 40. Portal defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth in 2.4 GHz, which was fine for throughput vs. attenuation, but which resulted in lower throughput for the maximum wireless throughput test, where we set the 2.4 GHz radio to 40 MHz bandwidth.

Portal was centered on the test chamber turntable as shown in the photo below. Because of its low profile, I elevated Portal a bit on a plastic stand to ensure proper pickup from the high-gain chamber antennas. The 0° position had the router front facing the chamber antennas.

Portal in test chamber

Portal in test chamber

Our new router classification separates DWS products for ranking, so I plotted Portal, Linksys Velop, NETGEAR Orbi and Google WiFi for comparison. Note again, Portal and Velop used channels 1 and 36; Orbi and Google WiFi used the standard 6 and 40.

Comparing average 2.4 GHz throughput for all measured points shows Portal not doing that well compared to competing products. Keep in mind that Portal is the only product in this comparison with a 3x3 2.4 GHz radio and 4x4 5 GHz radio. Because all are tested with a 2x2 client, the comparison is fair.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Average Throughput comparison

Comparing average 5 GHz throughput for all measured points shows Portal doing much better, landing at the top of both down and uplink charts.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Average Throughput comparison

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows the reason for Portal's low 2.4 GHz average performance, with both lower throughput and earlier disconnection.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Portal is again lower for 2.4 GHz uplink than the NETGEAR and Google products, but this time beats Linksys Velop. Portal still disconnects relatively early, however.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz downlink shows Portal actually doing quite well, as its high average throughput results would indicate. Portal's throughput runs above the other three products' throughput most of the test range. It even stays connected one attenuation step longer than Velop.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz uplink reveals a pattern for Portal similar to Velop, with an initial sharp throughput dip, followed by recovery to a higher level. Portal's dip is a bit steeper than Velop's, but its recovery is much better. The net result is that Portal's average throughput still beats the others' in this group.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

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