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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

NOTE!Testing Notes:
- All tests were run with the defaults of 54g-Auto mode and 11b protection disabled
- Signal strength readings were not available
- Frame bursting (PRISM Nitro) was enabled in the 2870W only
- AP tests were run with a NETGEAR WAG511 CardBus card [reviewed here] (Atheros chipset)
- Bridge tests were run with an ASUS WL-300g Access Point(Broadcom's AirForce chipset). The WL-300g was set to 54g- Auto mode, 11b protection disabled and frame-bursting disabled.

I tested the 2870W in both modes and found it fared much better when used as an access point. Chariot's maximum throughput testing seemed just too much for the Bridging mode to handle with typical results shown in Figure 6.

SMC2870W - Bridge mode, Location 1 throughput

Figure 6: Bridge mode - Location 1 throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Enabling WPA in Bridge mode caused the 2870W's behavior to become even less robust. In order to generate the complete one minute run shown in Figure 7, I had to limit the test throughput rate to 1.544Mbps (one of Chariot's presets). Raising the speed to even 2.048Mbps caused the product to lock up just a few seconds into the test. (After lockup, the 2870W's admin interface still worked and its ability to pass traffic recovered after a minute or so.)

Figure 7: Bridge mode - Location 1 throughput - WPA-PSK / TKIP enabled
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

I switched to AP mode for my four-location throughput tests and, as Figure 8 shows, the 2870W seemed to settle down and perform much more consistently

SMC2870W- Four location throughput

Figure 8: AP mode - Four location throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

I also checked throughput with 128bit WEP and WPA-PSK / TKIP enabled, with results shown in Figure 9.

SMC2870W - AP mode - Security mode comparison

Figure 9: AP mode - Security mode comparison
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Although no throughput hit was obtained by enabling WEP, I was surprised to see an almost 10% hit with WPA /TKIP kicked in, since I had seen virtually no difference in this mode in other testing with Atheros-based clients. But I suspect the culprit may be the mixing of Atheros and PRISM-based devices.

802.11g Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: NETGEAR WAG511 CardBus card

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
Wireless client driver: WinXP
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test Description Signal Strength (%) Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 1 0 22.9
[No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
1 (avg)
2 (max)
499 0
Client to AP - Condition 2 0 21.7 1 (avg)
5 (max)
499 0
Client to AP - Condition 3 0 17.5 1 (avg)
2 (max)
500 0
Client to AP - Condition 4 0 21.1 1 (avg)
2 (max)
500 0
See details of how we test.

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