Saturday, November 5, 2011

Linksys Instant Wireless Dual-Band Wireless Access Point Review

| Wireless Driver & Software

Wireless Perf. – 11a

• 802.11a testing was done with a Linksys WPC54A client with WinXPHome
AP was run at full-power setting
Signal Quality readings in the table above are not valid. No signal quality readings were available via the WinXP monitoring application.

Turning to the 802.11a side of the AP, Plot 3 shows throughput for the four test conditions.

Linksys WAP51AB: 802.11a performance

Plot 3: 802.11a Four Conditions
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Since I didn’t want to clutter up Plot 3 with too many lines, Plot 4 shows throughput runs for Condition 1 with normal, WEP 128, and Turbo separately enabled.

I'm annoyed! Don’t believe Linksys’ instructions to rely on WinXP’s built-in wireless capabilties to configure the WPC54A card. Since the XP utilities don’t allow you to set 152 bit WEP, or enable Turbo mode, it turns out that you must use Linksys’ wireless client application if you want to access those capabilities. At least that’s what they told me when I asked them how to do it!

Linksys WAP51AB: 802.11a 1X, 1X WEP, Turbo

Plot 4: Condition 1, 1X, 1X WEP, Turbo
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

And as with all other Atheros-based products I’ve tested, enabling WEP with any key length didn’t affect throughput at all.

I found that “Turbo” mode provided only a 10% boost in average throughput, with max “Turbo” throughput coming in only around 28Mbps. I didn’t bother running “Turbo” tests at all four test locations, since previous testing has shown that is useful only under strong-signal conditions.

In all, I’d say the 51AB turned in average 802.11a and b performance. The good news is that I was able to successfully complete testing under all four test conditions for 802.11a, something not all 802.11a AP/routers that I’ve tested have done.

802.11a Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: Linksys WPC11 ver. 3

Firmware/Driver Versions

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

Test DescriptionSignal Quality (%)Transfer Rate (Mbps)Response Time (msec)UDP stream
Throughput (kbps)Lost data (%)
Client to AP – Condition 102.9 [No WEP]
3.9 [w/ WEP]
2 (avg)
4 (max)
Client to AP – Condition 203.5 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
22 (max)
Client to AP – Condition 301.6 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
4 (avg)
15 (max)
Client to AP – Condition 402 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
15 (max)

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